COLUMN: "Apathy takes a break -- for a day"

"U.S. out of Afghanistan."

So read a sign, scrawled in red and black pen, placed in front of an information table manned by several members of Ball State's Young Socialists party Monday. The organization advocates support of labor unions and has taken a strong stance against America's role in the war in Afghanistan.

A few people walking past the table were angered by the organization's rhetoric. According to Jack Willey, staff writer for the socialist newspaper The Militant, these students were quite vocal in expressing their dislike for what the Young Socialists promote.

As the day went on, the table became somewhat of a gathering place where people with all sorts of political views went to share information, compare stances and argue them.

As far as I'm concerned, this is great news.

The mere fact that Ball State students were interested enough in what the organization had to say that they stopped to talk, peruse the literature at the table and in some cases, argue really impresses me.

I have always believed that nobody on this campus cares about anything, although I recently modified this belief when I read a slogan that said "nobody on this campus cares about anything except getting sloppy drunk at tailgating."

Take this year's campus news for example: Ball State has a board of trustees that might violate Indiana's Open Door Law, a university police department that might treat women who report rapes like second-class citizens and a student government association that thinks taking away our right to attend classes is sound academic policy. What better a recipe for unrest than the aforementioned?

Ball State students, however, would rather boycott football games than take a stand on these or any other issues currently in the news -- but not Monday.

Maybe this is a sign of things to come.

According to Willey, since the September attacks, society is gradually becoming polarized -- more people are becoming interested in politics and are taking a side regarding America's role in Afghanistan.

Maybe this phenomenon will continue to develop here. Perhaps, as more students read about FBI agents checking the files of hundreds of international students on campuses across the country in the New York Times or suspects who were arrested in connection to the bombing and subsequently released complaining of harassment by police and jail officials in the Los Angeles Times, they will slowly sift away from the dull gray area that defines them politically and separate into opposing camps.

Wishful thinking, maybe -- but what if?

Picture a campus where the entire student body speaks out every time its administration breaks the law, where binge drinking occasionally takes a backseat to evident scandal and where human rights concerns aren't just given lip service.

Oops, that's Bloomington or Ann Arbor, Mich. -- certainly not Ball State.

The aforementioned should, however, define every college campus. Now, more than ever, students across the nation need to decide on which side of the coin they rest.

If you oppose, or support, our nation's role in the war with the Taliban and the slew of possible human rights violations left in its wake -- make your voice heard.

If you oppose or support our school's role in violating open door laws, treating rape victims like dirt or taking away more school days -- make your voice heard.


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