Home / Op-Ed / What happened to student activism?

What happened to student activism?

author: kristian ferguson | news editor

Credit: Ella Mikkola

Educate, agitate, organize.

A long time ago, in the sixties the University of Regina was a bustling and burgeoning hotbed for student activism and protest. What happened?

Before I get into this, I will provide a pre-amble and clarify that I don’t think that absolutely no student activism takes place on campus, in fact, I think the exact opposite.

Student groups like RPIRG, SMAC and UR Pride are often on top of many of the protests and actions we see related to our campus today. My issue lies, then, in the general student body.

What happened to us? There was a time when if the students were slighted, they got angry. They mobilized. We would organize sit-ins (or teach-ins in a few cases). We would scream and shout and strike.

Now, when our tuition is raised and it becomes even harder to live as a student, we shrug and go “well that sucks.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. I know of so many people who see being a student as simply a transitory phase in their life, something to just struggle through, rather than an important part of their development and growth as a person.

In that same regard, even if you are gone from university in four years and never come back, why would you want future generations (your kids, possibly) to struggle as bad (or worse) than you? It should be in our collective consciousness that future generations shouldn’t be worse off than we were.

Similarly, trying to distance yourself from this discussion with “well I didn’t vote for (insert party that is hurting students),” is at best a cop-out and at worst, willfully ignorant.

Pardon my radicalism, but while the overbearing gaze of capital lingers over the world, there isn’t any one particular party that will fully or truly alleviate this issue, regardless of what their campaign platform says.

The people who need to make the moves to better student’s lives should, and classically has been, students. There is no one who looks out for your interests better than you.

It may seem hard, especially if you have a job while you are in school, or are in a course-work heavy program (looking at you STEM students), but even little things like voicing support openly for the students who are privileged enough to be able to organize protests and other events.

If things at the university are generally hurting students, no longer should we lay back and let it roll over us.

Educate, agitate, organize.

About Kristian Ferguson

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