BY NATHALIE HEWA DEWAGE
Last Friday, I gave a speech in the forum as part of the Black History Month opening ceremony. So did my friends. The response we got was polarized. Many people applauded us but there was some push-back. It was a little disheartening, though still expected. Something a lot of people said was that we were overly negative, that we should not have focused on our negative experiences to the extent that we did. I have to wonder if those people had actually listened to what we had to say.
Going and putting yourself out there is extremely difficult. It takes a lot to be vulnerable to an audience you know is going to write you off anyway. Yet, we did it. Hannan did it. Phillip did it. Rama did it. Tayo did it. And it was important that they did. All our critics saw were the negatives, but all I saw were my brave, wonderful friends who had the courage to speak up for themselves and who encouraged me to do the same. For this I only have love and gratitude. So I’ll say this now: thank you Han, Rama, Tayo and Phillip. Thank you Cat, Soroush, Aislinn, Joel and Jude. To Feisal and the dean and all our lovely professors who showed their support. To all our allies. To the Diversity Working Group.
We can only make changes when we are together. When I spoke on Friday, I never once felt alone.
BY AMIELLE CHRISTOPHERSON
During the ASA AGM last week, I found myself making suggestions I would have hated hearing when I was 17 or 18.
The floor had been opened to discuss suggestions for the new substance policies coming to campus next semester and I put forward the idea that, if residences are going to allow alcohol, it would be an idea to keep First Year Dorms alcohol free.
I made this suggestion for two reasons:
1. Some first years aren’t legal when they come to Augustana and that way it makes it easier to know that people aren’t consuming alcohol illegally.
2. First year is already rife with all sorts of new experiences, that including alcohol in dorms during that period may not be the best idea.
Jennae Matzner, VP Student Life, came up with a very good counter point that students come to university expecting to have more freedom and can often find the restrictions on campus to be infuriating.
And I get it! I so completely understand that students want to have those freedoms to do “what they want” on campus. I was once an 18-year-old first year and snuck alcohol into my alcohol free residence (I was in Ontario at the time) and felt that the rules were too overbearing and that I knew better.
The thing is, eight years later, I understand where my school’s administration was coming from and why they had the rules they did. It was less about trying to keep me “in line” and more about protecting their back. Because, as responsible as university students believe they are (and yes! Some of us are very responsible!), there’s always that chance that something could go too far and something could go seriously wrong. Students always think it’ll happen another year or to other students until it doesn’t and having policies in place actually means administrations are looking out for the worst possible outcome.
That sounds morbid and like an overreaction, but it’s the reality of what people in positions of power are looking at.
Does that mean that policies should stay the same for decades on end? No and that’s why Academic Council is taking a look at the substance policy, because times demand change and change is a good and necessary part of life.
But that doesn’t mean swinging from one extreme to another is the way to go, either. Finding some point in between, where change moves forward without disrupting the whole institution should always be the goal. As changes are made and people get comfortable, more changes can be made. Which isn’t always what people what to hear.
BY AMIELLE CHRISTOPHERSON
The most common conversation I’ve been having lately is, “We should definitely get together soon and catch up! What’s your week look like?…oh, what about next week?…what about before you head home for Christmas?” because life is nonstop chaos?? and we’re all just running around?? and every morning there somehow ends up being 34 new emails we need to answer RIGHT NOW?? and we bought a gym pass that we’re now expected to USE?? and something about mental health and eight hours of sleep???
It all feels like A Lot™ and like we’re all hanging on just to make it to the winter break, which is when we’re telling ourselves we’ll “catch up” and “get it all done” and y’know what? It’s a lie.
Because the chaos never really goes away, it just ebbs and flows and it mutates and looks different as time goes on and we find new and better ways of handling and managing it. Mostly because the chaos is actually just life and life is just chaos and thank you for coming to my philosophical TedTalk.
I’m kind of kidding but not really. For example, the other day, I spent half an hour catching up and talking to someone I hadn’t really seen in weeks because we’ve both been so busy. It was a serendipitous meeting in a stairwell, and while it wasn’t sitting down and having coffee, it was nice. It was taking an opportunity life presented and making the most out of it.
That’s not to say that planning to meet up two weeks from now for coffee is a bad thing, it’s not. But also realizing that we can and should take the moments when they’re offered. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the list of things we need to do or the places we need to be or the goals we’ve set for ourselves that we don’t realize we haven’t just stopped and breathed and existed for awhile.
It also means taking a step back and re-evaluating because not everything needs to be constant chaos. Yes, we’re in university. Yes, there’s a lot of pressure. Yes, we need to make it count. But we also need to make sure we’re here at the end of it all to enjoy what we’ve accomplished and who we’ve accomplished those things with.
So for everyone who feels like they’ve forgotten what their friends look like or that they’re just barely hanging on until the winter break: you’ve got this. Take the days as they come and do what you can and you’re going to be just fine.
BY AMIELLE CHRISTOPHERSON
In the Oct. 22, 2018 issue of The Dagligtale, the story “Appropriation is Not a Costume: A Reminder” included two individual pieces of writing under one headline with no clear way to distinguish where one ended and the other began. It also credited all three authors at the beginning of the piece, rather than crediting each author with their individual material. The opinions presented in the articles were not consistently shared by all the authors credited, and was therefore disingenuous to their individual beliefs.
This confusion meant the importance of each article and their messages were diluted and muddled. By making readers question what they were reading, it did not allow for them to reflect on the points being made. It also brought into question the reputations of our writers, which was wholly unfair and unjust and opened them to hateful and hurtful comments from many at this school. Instead of offering clear, concise articles with strong views, readers weren’t sure what the messages were meant to be, which defeated the original purpose of those articles.
As the person who did the layout, I made a decision for which I did not see such consequences. I apologize profusely for the confusion and hurt that resulted from that decision to publish the joint articles. The Dagligtale is focused on making sure that all voices are heard equally and that decision hurt the people we’re trying to uphold. The Dagligtale will be working on new policies within the coming weeks to work more closely with our writers and photographers to make sure an issue like this does not happen again. We’re looking at ways to improve our communication, both as editors and with our staff, to make sure all articles are published with the appropriate respect they deserve.
The full articles in their untouched forms can be found on our website at How Racist Will Your Halloween Not Be? and LGBTQA+ Appropriation at Halloween.