Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Give a single damn

Before I came to The University of Alabama, my choice of college had been between here, the University of Georgia and some fruity school in Minnesota that served a whole lot of granola in its cafeteria. I ended up choosing this school because I truly believed that you could do anything you wanted. The money, the people and the opportunities are all here.

As it turns out, those advantages are often only for a select few. After coming here and realizing that the money, connections and opportunities were for those designated to be filtered up the Alabama chain of power, I was obviously very jaded with the University’s way of working and its “traditions,” if you will.

Many students have the exact same experience, but for those who do figure out how deep the issues of this institution are, many decide to either get bitter or get busy.

The bitter tend to resent the University while doing nothing about it. This is literally the worst type of person you can be on a college campus that has so much potential and so much to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, I too have questioned my decision in coming and staying here, to be associated with all that is wrong here. But if I have learned anything from this, it’s that to truly love something, you must recognize its flaws. Then you fight to make them better, because this University and its students deserve better.

The University of Alabama is a fine institution that is doing some amazing things. Amazing things that get overshadowed by voter fraud, apathy, racism, homophobia, backwards politics, a chilled First Amendment and more. When we would rather allow quiet injustices to continue to slip by instead of causing a stir and shedding some light, we have committed the greatest injustice of all.

So give a damn.

Literally, give a damn about something – about anything. Continue to exercise, stretch and strengthen students’ rights to free speech on campus. If you care about something, speak up, even when the administration, the Machine or your own peers deny you that right.

The only thing potentially worse than what goes on in this campus, city and state is the apathy that allows it to happen.

To the people who don’t vote because it “won’t matter anyway” or who don’t speak up because you are “just a number” : You are a human being with a voice, and you are surrounded by 35,000 other students with voices. Someone is going to agree with you.

So I’m still glad I came to The University of Alabama. One, because I am learning how to deal with an administration who is willing to slither its way out of having a spine, leaders who put themselves first and students who are willing to watch it happen. Thanks for the reality check.

And two, because, fortunately, the University is not solely composed of onlookers. I have met some of the most inspiring people in my life while at this University, people who taught me these exact lessons, who showed me what it meant to “do something about it” and care – whether it’s about this school or what I did with the time I spent here.


Katherine Owen was the production editor of The Crimson White.

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