The newspaper staff would like to applaud the university for handling the Make America Great Again hat video with such grace and communication. There was a lot of attention placed on Missouri Western due to the video, which lends to more scrutiny. Yet, Missouri Western held under the pressure in a composed way. Both the administrators and students have done a phenomenal job of taking this situation and turning it into a dialog for positive discussion to address the root of the issue.
The MAGA hat video brought up the issue of where freedom of speech rights should lie. The first amendment is traditionally valued by Americans, but each of us have a personal situation that we would deem an improper use of our rights. The question is where the line is and how to handle enforcing it.
This is where the administrators at Missouri Western really stepped up. After hearing of the rally that students had planned, President Vartabedian sent out an email to all students explaining that they would be attending the student rally to hear students voice their concerns. They even followed up the rally with a listening session several hours later where any student could attend and ask questions or explain their thoughts on the matter. The president went as far as to offer that he and Shana Myers would meet up with students personally if that would be better for them.
Students likewise were very thoughtful when enacting their rally. The rally was not only peaceful, but it was intentional. While most students holding the rally held a similar opinion on how freedom of speech should be used in this context, they generally set their opinions aside and used the rally as a conversation launcher. Some students coined the hashtag “#letstalkaboutit” in hopes that it would encourage productive discussion about the matter.
Last week, one of the newspaper staff overheard students talking about being more aggressive in trying to push their side of the argument. However, it was extremely encouraging to hear members of the same group stating that impulsiveness isn’t the best route. While most students have picked a side of the argument, the majority of Missouri Western campus seems to be choosing to side with each other despite which side of the video they believe is correct.
There are many hateful people in the world and the newspaper staff is extremely glad to see the character that MWSU has shown in this controversial time of high tension. Thank you to all who are dedicated to loving one another and having respectful conversations despite what views your fellow classmates might hold. The issue isn’t over yet, so let’s keep talking about it.