IU has made a lot of strides this year in its efforts to improve itself as an institution of higher learning.
Students and administrators came together to enact such wonderful policies as IU’s new preferred-name policy, which allows students to change the name listed on their student ID card, if they so desire.
There have been efforts to change how we look at sexual assault as a community, which revised CAPS policies that are under negotiation as we speak. CAPS has gotten a reboot to be faster and more efficient for students who need help.
Our brothers in the greek community have stood up against sexual violence with the creation of the new Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault program. The University has committed itself to fighting sexual violence and protecting those who need it most.
The Residence Halls Association has stood up to support the implementation of more gender-neutral housing options for first-year students.
These are all tremendous accomplishments and should not be minimized in any way. That’s not the purpose of my column today.
It has been evident to me in the past that, after a period of change and improvement, students and citizens become complacent in the status quo. People like the way things are going and, thus, don’t see any reason to continue fighting for change.
This complacency is nothing more than stagnation under disguise. And stagnation will ultimately lead to the rot of our successes and our way of life.
I fear these successes will lead to students no longer fighting for positive change at this university. I fear that the administration will no longer be challenged and students will no longer be compelled to act in their own self-interest.
This isn’t to say there aren’t positive forces of change here at IU. Student groups will always continue to push for change. I am more concerned that specific areas, such as mental health, sexual violence and LGBT issues, will remain stagnant in the future.
It is incredibly easy to reach success and then stop fighting. We must fight this collectively as a society.
I write this not to bash any accomplishments, as they are all great acts of selflessness. However, I am urging my fellow students and citizens to not sit complacently while there is more work to be done.
When I look forward into the future of this university and this city, I see new avenues and paths that need our attention. Yet I also see older paths, those such as sexual violence or transgender discrimination, which need our utmost attention as well.
I fear that instituting new gender-neutral housing in one residence hall will lead to the abandonment of the ultimate goal of having gender-neutral housing available in every residence hall.
I fear having one LGBT-themed floor will lead to the perception that we no longer need to strive to make all floors LGBT-friendly.
I fear all of these potential outcomes, along with many others. I want to improve the lives of others. I want to create a university where we solve problems, not postpone them. I want to create a society where everyone can walk down the street without feeling fear.
These goals aren’t achieved with complacency. They are achieved through action.
I urge you all today to never stop fighting for a better world.