Audience disrespectful for Rusesabagina lecture

By Elle Fried

Contributing Writer

As many of you may know, Rwandan humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina spoke Tuesday about his experience during the genocide in his homeland of Rwanda in 1994.

He is known for saving 1,268 refugees from being slaughtered in the hotel he managed, Sabena Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda. He is now mainly recognized for the portrayal of his efforts in the Academy Award winning film “Hotel Rwanda.”

Although I found his speech to be particularly interesting, I would like to focus the attention on the audience, your classmates. This is just one of the many speakers that I have attended at the University since my arrival, and each time I am further disappointed by the behavior of the students during the speech.

Granted, I recognize that this time students showed more impressive behavior during the speech itself. For one of the first times I did not see any students sleeping or on their cell phones. However, the end of the lecture was what truly upset me.

Once the speech ended and people started clapping, herds of students started leaving before questions even began. Then, during the time period dedicated to asking questions, groups of students would rudely get up and leave in the middle.

It is so incredibly rude and distracting to the speaker when someone gets up and leaves during the time that they are talking. It is even ruder to your classmates who are trying to hear the answer to their questions.

The purpose of having the time for questions is not so that everyone can get up and barge out, as if it has been enough torture to sit through the lecture. This man risked his life to save the lives of over 1,000 people. His family was almost murdered and people did not even have the decency to sit and listen to a few questions.

It is my personal belief that students should hear a speech in its entirety. Do not come if you are only doing it for an extra participation point in your political science class. Students should want to be there because the speaker’s message is extremely inspirational and applicable to University students.

As a University student, I am embarrassed over how we act during events like this. At such a prestigious university, you would expect so much more from its attendees. As college students, we should all be able to at least sit still for an hour and a half and enjoy such a motivating speech.

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