California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Why anonymity is harming CLU students

    California Lutheran University’s inclusive tradition of welcoming everyone to the table of knowledge with equal dignity and respect is being spat upon. The culprit is anonymity.

    President Barack Obama once said, “You don’t have to be fearful of somebody spouting bad ideas. Just out-argue them.” But what if those bad ideas are spread anonymously without a mental filter, so much so that they become a form of bullying and harassment? 

    I’m not going to mince my words, especially since I’m not an anonymous voice on Yik Yak. Nor will I resort to name-calling or other kinds of derogatory language. This is a pledge I made after spending an entire day volunteering at the Tunnel of Oppression, whereby students and faculty were exposed to the oppressive nature of language.

    It’s appalling that students from this very campus have the gall to go on Yik Yak and spout bigoted language without even engaging in a civilized argument to prove their point.

    “I was disappointed and sad to read the Yaks in Tunnel of Oppression. It’s frustrating to see an app used as a tool to make others feel badly, especially in an anonymous setting.  I’d like to see our community use these platforms to fight bullying and spread positive messages of support,” Melinda Roper, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said in an email interview.

    Using anonymity to voice one’s opinion is poison to the liberal arts education. And when the comments turn nasty, it’s embarrassing to the actual institution. If you’re going to hide behind a mask and resort to bullying so you can be heard, then you’re wasting your college education and your money.   

    I firmly believe that Cal Lutheran is an environment where controversial issues can be argued about and everyone’s opinion is subject to respectful critiques.

    If people are offended by what someone says, they have every right to express their discomfort. What they don’t have a right to do is to silence the source of their discomfort into an anonymous corner. They must learn to argue wisely as well.

    “The university is supposed to be a bastion of free speech, not a place where we worry about censoring. Anonymity doesn’t give you the right to be rude to other people, but the Constitution does. Yik Yak promotes free speech to the extreme,” Jared Smith, the chair of Cal Lutheran College Republicans, said.

    Yes, you have every right to speak your mind, so why not come out of the shadows? Let your voice be heard and finally overcome the fear of being scrutinized. Join this publication, start a group or even engage in an educated argument with a professor.

    Under the guise of anonymity, opinions become worthless and fall into the destructive zone of hate speech. Now, I have every right to say mean things about others and so do you, but what we both don’t have a right to do is to shut each other up. After all, in the marketplace of ideas the best one always wins out.

    “I think we have this idea here that we’re a friendly place. We don’t need to be a friendly place; we need to be a place of deep love. Friendly can be a smile and then a stab in the back. I think the students need to step up and do more civic work,” Rahuldeep Gill, associate professor of religion, said. 

    I want to encourage those who hide behind an anonymous profile to use the resources they have wisely and grow as educated human beings with well-rounded opinions. People do have the right to be anonymous, but they’ll never grow to defend themselves soundly.

    So by all means, call out the bigoted remarks you encounter, defend why you’re pro-life or even take a neutral stance. But for the love of Cal Lutheran tradition, don’t do it through spiteful and anonymous avenues. Let’s rise above the occasion and use our education actively.

    I am better than this. We’re all better than this.

    Mario Granados
    Staff Writer
    Published May 4th, 2016