In the wake of several weeks of renewed scrutiny of some of the more unsavoury sides of student life and the perceived culture therein, it is clear that a sense of perspective has to be found.
Needless to say, we at York Vision condemn the reckless and ignorant behaviour of the students who vandalised their accommodation. However, whilst unsavoury racism and idiotic sports club rituals are clearly a problem, and should be rightly condemned. It’s at times like these that we need to speak up in defence of the reasonable, right minded majority of students, who did not go out for Halloween blacked up or dressed as the Twin Towers and who have never made a moronic video of themselves pouring a pint of milk over their heads in a display of astonishing stupidity.
Whilst worrying trends may be in play in British Higher Education, the particularly objectionable and stupid elements are by no means a representation of students in general.
That being said, it’s still important that the student population distances itself from incidents and behaviour it views as beyond the pale, particularly considering the worryingly prevalent view amongst certain sections of society that students are a loutish band of incorrigible hedonists who are a danger to themselves and others.
York, among other universities, has a habit of scandals like that of our front page story popping up about once a term. There’s always a backlash, but inevitably, there’s always a group of people attempting to defend the group causing offence, or brush it to one side by saying it’s a one off. The pictures on page four and five were on Facebook pages that were open to the public and they escaped criticism. Not a single person thought they were offensive, or dared to point it out on their profiles. Clearly, there is a problem that has to be addressed within our university’s culture about standing up against bigotry and ignorance.
Ultimately, every group in society has its skeletons, it’s how we react to them that defines us, and it’s by that, our reaction and not by the foolish and offensive actions of a minority that we as students should expect to be judged. We must not let students continue to be roundly condemned by wider society because of the occasional idiotic behaviour of inebriates and bigots.
This is particularly important with regards to the uncertain future which faces us as university students, with continuous raging debates and endlessly shifting waters regarding government reform and the resulting strikes and protests that follow. Not to mention hints of a change to a GPA system on the horizon mean that it is of even more pressing importance that students are viewed positively and ultimately taken seriously by our nation’s elites, lest our voices be lost or ignored in the discussion regarding our future.