The Daily Illini

Be aware of issues on campus

By Da Yeon Eom, Columnist

A rally took place in front of the Alma Mater on Sept. 9. It was organized by the Black Students for Revolution and the rally was intended to inform the public about the group’s perceived necessary transformations for the University.

RSOs such as Students for Justice in Palestine, Graduate Employees Organization, Students Against Sexual Assault and others joined in to voice their demands. In total, 24 organizations of various causes gathered together to enlarge their influence and support one another through the rally.

Again on Sept. 15, the members gathered and created a forum for student discussion at Gregory Hall. They listed their demands, took questions from the audience and informed others about their efforts.

The Rally for a Transformed University was different than many other protests held on campus, for it embodied many issues to accommodate the needs of all demographics. The demands aim to improve the conditions for sexual harassment victims, the LGBTQ community, racial minorities and more.

The participants recognized the need to point out the errors in the campus and communities, and they delivered their messages clearly to those willing to listen. While most of them were exposed as students and employees of the University, they did not shy away about what they believe in.

Some may say that the issues loudly addressed in such rallies create more anxiety for the society. However, I believe it would be even more detrimental to brush them off and suppress the confidence that improvements can be made. Our community will not make changes without openly addressing revolutionary ideas.

The concept of “safe space” shouldn’t prohibit freedom of speech. Although it is a comforting idea that we can filter the encountered content based on our level of familiarity, the developing issues in our society urge us to step out of the box.

Admittedly, there are words with strong appeals such as “revolution,” “toxic masculinity” and “exploitation” in the list of demands the Black Students for Revolution published. It may alarm the audience, but the authors deliver the words with deliberation and a purpose that exceeds the comfortable realm of vocabulary.

With respect to those who are strong-willed and courageous, I agreed with some of their demands more than the others. For example, demand nine asks for more time in maternity leave and I absolutely recognize the need to expand the time to take care of family matters. Also, I believe that the need for transparency expressed in demand 13, which asks the University to disclose its investments on a yearly basis, is crucial for the University’s finances to be allocated for better purposes.

Rather than to disregard these voices as those of radicals, it would be best for the leaders of the University to read over their demands, listen and decipher what changes can be implemented to answer their inquiries.

The decision to agree or disagree is up to the individuals, but it is also our responsibility as the University’s community members to be aware of the issues presented.

Da Yeon is a sophomore in ACES.
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