The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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A night for Bucknell to wake up

Emily Paine
Emily Paine / Bucknell University

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Bucknellian.

Each year, an extraordinary event takes place on campus. Jittery with excitement, students will queue in advance just to get a special seat for “A Night With the Presidents”. Any student with a gnawing question for President Bravman can have their curiosity satisfied by submitting them in advance. In turn, President Bravman regales the student body with stories from his youth, time as President of Bucknell, and everything else under the sun the student body needs to know.

Perhaps when the event first started, that’s how it truly was. But eventually, “A Night With the Presidents’”, devolved into an annual reiteration of the same worn-out script, regurgitating topics that only scratch the surface of the real issues—like a broken record stuck on the same old tune, year after year.

Eyes glaze over as matters of real consequence are conveniently avoided. The projection of a transparent Bucknell administration is thwarted before the event even begins since pre-submitted questions are filtered out. But this year, President Bravman answered a question without even speaking. 

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When organized student demonstrators for Palestinian liberation filled Trout Auditorium, President Bravman was in the process of answering a question. While we cannot say for certain what was asked, once President Bravman comprehended what would soon take place, the nature of his answer suddenly shifted to discussing the diversity he was surrounded with growing up in NYC and living in California. No one seemed to understand why he suddenly brought up his seasoned life experience; if he was attempting to build credibility with demonstrators, the majority of which were people of color, it sorely backfired. 

Once President Bravman seemed to finish, a student leader of the demonstration began their speech about Palestinian liberation.  President Bravman kept going, and voices of the two overlapped until he backed down. Another student leader began to speak, but the President decided that he would no longer be present. Packing his things, President Bravman walked out as appalled demonstrators yelled at him for leaving. After one student exclaimed, “You’re just proving our point!”, he rebutted that “This was an event for a different purpose”. 

Yes, it certainly was. But a significant portion of the Bucknell community was exhausted from hearing the same questions of non-consequence answered in a transparency charade. That purpose is tired, if not defunct. 

What actually does matter is Bucknell’s failure to release a statement about the crimes against Palestinains and express solidarity with Palestinian students, faculty and staff.

When President Bravman got up and exited the auditorium, he made it abundantly clear that hearing about the genocide committed against Palestinians was not worth his time. What boldly proved this was his unexpected return to the auditorium a mere ten minutes later. He seemed to only be available when the speeches were reaching a close. 

Additionally, President Bravman did not independently return to the auditorium; he re-entered with Chief Morgan of Bucknell Public Safety. This incident further highlights the need for a substantive shift in addressing real issues rather than perpetuating the facade of transparency.

The video circulating on campus fails to capture the full gravity of Tuesday’s events. President Bravman’s dismissive attitude towards students, his unwillingness to genuinely engage with voices that often go unheard and marginalized on this campus, paints a troubling picture. Regrettably, this isn’t the first time many of us have observed such behavior from university officials.

In the wake of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, the time for silence and dismissiveness has passed. University officials must heed the call to action, listening to the impassioned voices of their students who demand justice and accountability. Ignorance regarding such pressing global issues can no longer be tolerated. 

It is imperative for University leaders to transcend favoritism towards the state of Israel, which has been occupying Palestine, by breaking the silence on broader issues. Engaging in open and honest dialogue and taking concrete steps to address the crisis in Palestine and the Gaza strip, while also acknowledging the sentiments and feelings of Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab students that have been ignored, is crucial for fostering a more inclusive and understanding university environment. A formal statement from the University, expressing solidarity and a commitment to addressing these concerns, could not only demonstrate a dedication to inclusivity and justice but also provide much-needed support for these students who have been in pain and feel ignored by their own campus community.

It’s crucial that Bucknell administration and students alike pause and consider the significance of these events. These demonstrations represent a call for change, a demand for justice and a plea for accountability. Bucknell University, its administration, and its students now have an opportunity to unite, to engage in open and meaningful dialogue and to actively address the urgent global issues at hand. 

Reflect on the demands from student demonstrators and consider a Bucknell that actively confronts the nature of the unfolding humanitarian crisis, one that will inevitably be recognized as a genocide.

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  • S

    Steven SonisNov 11, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    There is no favoritism towards one side. There is only rejection of state sponsored terrorism from Hamas. Remember Hamas’ charter calls for the genocide of Jews – not the Israeli charter. Calling for the river to the sea supports genocide of Jews.

    Where are the protests against Hamas taking of women, children and elderly hostages?

    You can’t seriously ask people to support your cause if you have false facts and support people who have installed a government that promotes war crimes in their actions.

    This is not genocide….just the ugliness of war. This is not a systemic killing of a race – this is collateral damage from Hamas putting innocent civilians into harms way by making them human shields. Israel who you accuse of genocide has provided countless warning to leave the area via leaflets, providing corridors of safety and allowing those Palestinians to flee. Prior to the war they provided fuel, water and supplies to the region despite being targeted with missile attacks – on civilians….so Hamas and the Palestinians by your definition been committing genocide all along – just like their charter calls for.

    Where are your protests against the genocide of Ukrainians by the Russian?

    Time to look at facts objectively, get educated at an expensive college and fight for the rights of all innocent civilians.