Students aren’t the aggressors and we shouldn’t be painted as such

It’s ironic that there is a lack of respect for students’ proactive efforts on mainstream media but also advocacy that more needs to be done - it makes no sense. | Heidi Cuevas, PantherNOW

Kailey Krantz | Staff Writer

Universities are quick to blame students for protest violence, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Colleges should worry more about protecting their students from harm rather than its reputation.

Students should be able to express their views in a safe environment, but that is far from the current reality.  

With student protests being more apparent in Florida universities, schools should be more concerned with ensuring our student body doesn’t get harmed or become the brunt of harassment in news outlets. 

Campus protests about the genocide happening in Gaza are not just in FIU, it’s all over Florida. Because of this, students are becoming the targets of on-campus violence and wrongful arrests. 

While there is a right and wrong way of conducting a protest, that doesn’t mean universities should be gung-ho on eliminating the opportunity for students to protest, especially for a timely global issue that affects thousands of lives. 

It doesn’t excuse the brute force of campus police, using tear gas against the students who are only trying to make change in the turbulent world we live in. 

A University of South Florida student testified to campus police attacking students during the protest and it was heartbreaking since students should be able to protest peacefully without worrying about school police going out of their way to hurt them. 

When it comes to discussing the ethics of protesting on campus, it’s always the students versus campus police rather than the bigger issue that is being addressed.

Any time students plan to protest on campus, the police are sent to ‘protect’ the image and prestige of the university by generalizing who was to blame for the campus turmoil.

The FIU protests are a perfect example of this because four officers arrested one student in a completely different building to save face.

This is humiliating beyond belief. It diminishes the students’ efforts to bring awareness to a current global crisis and is a good case of the older generation not respecting the younger generation’s beliefs because of their age. 

It’s ironic that there is a lack of respect for students’ proactive efforts on mainstream media but also advocacy that more needs to be done – it makes no sense. 

FIU and many other Florida universities should strive to be a safe environment for students, not paint them as dim-witted aggressors. 

We didn’t come to FIU to experience the Panther Hunger Games. We came here to earn our degrees and become functioning adults with our own set of diverse values. 

It’s not the students’ responsibility to worry about the safety infrastructure of the school. It’s the administration’s job to create regulations and have training programs for campus police to properly de-escalate a dangerous situation.

Everyone on campus can agree that university safety is a top priority and there are multiple ways of ensuring the school is safe for every student. The first and most obvious step is to stop blaming students for these issues and start finding solutions to the problem.


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community. 

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