Recently, Bucknell Student Government (BSG) executive board members and representatives proposed major changes to their constitution. Not only did they notify all students about the changes, but they allowed students to vote on these changes in an effort to remain transparent to the student body. With this effort, they tried to properly represent the student voice. Yet the real question is, what exactly is the collective “student voice?”
In the wake of email spoofs and personal Yik Yak attacks, it seems that our student voice has more recently reared its ugly head. Students are turning to social media as a way to speak out about whomever and whatever they want. They no longer consider long-term implications; the immediate gratification of “likes” or laughs seems to now outweigh forthcoming consequences. Recently, it seems that hiding behind a screen has never seemed so easy, yet so destructive.
Many students may seem to think that their attacks are acceptable and justified. Whether it is impersonating a University administrator, calling out a fraternity’s integrity, or voicing concerns about something or someone on campus, these anonymous platforms have taken over the University as the main student voice.
It is up to us to decide: is anonymity an issue at our University or is it perfectly acceptable? We do have the freedom of speech as one of our fundamental rights. Whether we decide to say “no” to a new constitution or make fun of someone for something they say or do, it is our voice and our inherited right as an American citizen to do so. We are constantly in control of our own thoughts and actions; yet, at a University where there may seem to be a greater sense of responsibility for one’s own personal actions and thoughts, every last word, Tweet, and anonymous post are all connected.
Although the BSG constitution failed to pass, the concerted effort to make changes–considering all of the positive and negative feedback received–was disrespected by students. It seems that with a social media “mask,” students can say, feel, or become whoever and whatever they want. And while some may find this acceptable, it can be destructive and harmful to many. If students have something negative to say, perhaps it is time to suit up, show face, and have fruitful discussions about their grievances rather than let the screens do the talking. There’s no harm in trying to talk to one another in-person; perhaps that would make us a better University.