Opinion: Set the tone by respecting all sides

Now that the spring semester has come to an end many schools are celebrating the most recent graduation of their students. Not all of these commencements have been the happy occasions they are meant to be. With the recent events at Bethune-Cookman University and the University of Notre Dame, members of the current administration being treated poorly, I can see why some would be irritated at the hypocrisy. I thought the left stood up for free speech. It seems that booing the speaker or simply walking out on the speaker is considered in poor taste. Well in my opinion, the poor taste resides in the mouths of those that are feeling cheated by the current administration.

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Auraria campus students gathered in the Tivoli to protest the appointment of Betsy Devos as education secretary on Feb. 7. They marched out of the building chanting “ out of the Tivoli and into the streets.” Photo by Lauren Cordova • scordo22@msudenver.edu

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has no public education, nor do any of her children. DeVos has only experienced a private education. Yet she was chosen to lead the nation in public education. To me this is not a qualified leader and I can easily see how students at Bethune-Cookman University could feel insulted that DeVos was going to be doing their commencement speech. This is a woman that believes in for-profit education and does not support public education fully. DeVos also has no degree in public education and yet she is being defended for her treatment at the Bethune-Cookman commencement. These students turned their back on her and booed her relentlessly. While they eventually settled down, many Fox News correspondents are calling the treatment of DeVos childish and rude.

A similar situation happened over the weekend of May 21, when students at the University of Notre Dame walked out on Vice President Mike Pence to protest the acts of the current administration. Several dozen students were walking out because of the extreme stances the current administration has based on sexual orientation, healthcare, race and religion. Sounds like the students are well within their right to be mad and furthermore, it sounds like these students should be able to protest the current administration.

I can only agree to an extent. There is no reason that either side shouldn’t be heard. If there is to be any progress in the slightest, it is of the utmost importance that both sides work together and actually hear each other. These students are angry and for good reason. Students are finding it more and more difficult to succeed on and off campus due to various challenges that are being put in place by the current administration. These students decided that if they were going to be heard at any time, it would be as they go out into the world with degrees to join the workforce. Does this mean that they were right in their actions?

Not completely. I say this because not everyone at either college was against the actions and beliefs of Mike Pence or Betsy DeVos. There are some young scholars that support both of these people and they also voted for Donald Trump to lead the nation as president. Regardless of my opinions or any other opinion, this is the reality. Now if you are against the politics of Donald Trump and his White House, then it is up to you to use tact, respect and grace to make sure that there is an administration that you see helping the nation. This means talking to the opposing side and actually hearing their thoughts on current events and constantly asking questions about their thoughts.

This goes for both sides. This doesn’t mean that either side is good or evil. It means that the conversation between all sides are quickly becoming limited and it is up to us as citizens to acknowledge and respect the opposing side. This doesn’t mean agreement, but it does mean creating a path to a more constructive conversation.

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