I Dare You…
I have several friends who attend college at the University of California, Davis, and have therefore maintained a particular interest in the developing controversy regarding Friday’s “pepper spray scandal”. As has been highly publicized throughout popular media outlets, a group of seemingly peaceful UC Davis undergraduates were doused with the substance by university police officers after refusing to vacate the central campus quad. While the incident has generated public admiration for the individuals involved in the actual demonstration, I have found myself particularly enamored by the response of the general student body to the actions of campus officials.
Whereas the police department had resorted to riot gear and physical violence to exert their will, UC undergraduates, graduate students, professors, and alumni united in a peaceful yet compelling campaign against administrators and security personnel. The spirit of the movement is captured in this video, in which UC Chancellor Linda Katehi walks to her car amidst an impressive gathering of silent protesters. Without having uttered a single word, UC Davis students have come to inspire an entire nation.
I cannot help but wonder whether or not a similarly motivational demonstration would be possible within the context of GW culture. If one or more of our own classmates were mistreated, would our student body have the same resolve to initiate a peaceful revolution?
At times, it certainly does appear as though our community lacks any rebellious spirit. Protests of any sort are considerably rare, and we have yet to speak out against our administration on matters of true importance. Then again, GW students don’t have all too much to be upset with. Although tuition rates remain astronomically high and the J-Street Café shows no signs of improvement, our student body enjoys an unparalleled sense of safety and security.
If such an incident did occur that violated the rights of students, you can bet that we would take a stand. Regardless of the average attendance at basketball games, our community fosters school spirit in all the ways that really count. The GW family, however dysfunctional, would make a point to protect its own.
Come on, pepper sprayers. I dare you.