PantherNOW Editorial Board
The recent arrest and felony charge of an FIU alumna for her role in the Jan 6. Capitol attack has prompted heated debate regarding its significance to FIU’s student integrity.
To us at PantherNOW, it’s a huge disappointment. The thought of a student like you or me buddying up with a former Proud Boy and participating in a blatantly undemocratic and unlawful riot just makes us sigh and shake our heads.
We should do better as students, and ex-students, to not to fall into the trap of extremism that pervades the modern-day political landscape that we have all been unfortunately accustomed to.
A recent poll found that one in three Americans believe the election was stolen by way of voter fraud. This is the kind of extremism we are talking about.
To believe that the very foundations of our democracy were usurped, and to believe it so fervently as to travel to Washington D.C. to participate in a riot that caused millions in damage, five deaths and hundreds of police officers injured is beyond low.
But to add the fact that an FIU student was involved in all of that from start to finish is even lower. We should be wary of falling into the traps of extreme ideology and not believe everything we see or hear.
Especially at an international university that promotes political engagement, we should know what is acceptable and what isn’t.
As FIU students and alumni in particular, we’re part of a rich tradition of university engagement in politics that is better than what Barbara Balmeseda demonstrated.
At FIU, we are taught how to think and to live and to make sense of ourselves in a dynamic, ever-changing world, not to be violent radicals.
University is where you learn to be an adult, not to blindly believe lies and attack police officers.
Sure, it might make you feel good to drum up fantasies of outrageous conspiracies that make for eye-catching headlines, but you have to critically engage with what’s in front of you, not shove it aside and claim it’s “fake news”.
Especially when even some of the most conservative leaders in politics say the election wasn’t stolen.
We as students need to look out for each other — and ourselves, to ensure that something like this cannot happen again.
Speaking out for what you believe in is one thing, but what our alumna did was far worse. Extremism should never be condoned by anyone at FIU.