The Brown and White has created a policy on artificial intelligence for reporters and editors to follow.

Editorial: We need to start listening to each other


The wave of student protests at college campuses across the country has continued to 

escalate as the Israel-Hamas war rolls on with few signs of reprieve.

Responses from administration and government officials have varied from college to college, with some calling for the arrest of student protesters, some entirely moving to classes online and others doing both.  

Violence has even erupted between opposing student groups at university encampments, and the number of student protesters reaching the thousands. 

The coverage of these protests has amplified the voices of and violence against students protesting for divestment from Israel all over the country, for a global audience to see.

But as students of a university whose demonstrations have not escalated to a point worthy of national news, it can feel as though we are caught in a state of limbo. We’re not at the near-breaking-point level of universities like UCLA or Columbia, but we haven’t been without our own protests and demonstrations throughout the semester.

What obligation do we as students and Lehigh as a university have to address these global conflicts?

Our priorities should always lie with education and safety. Physically and mentally. 

Universities are institutions meant to encourage the exchange of thoughts and the cultivation of ideas. As young adults fostering unique identities, joining groups and exercising collective efforts can be formative to personal development. 

With that, however, comes the danger of perpetuating unproductive language and resentment under the false belief that one is pursuing truth. The goals of most groups start with good intentions, ones that encourage openness and learning. But, we’ve seen across the county how those good intentions escalate to taut environments. 

So far, the socio-political activism at Lehigh has arguably maintained respectfulness and hasn’t encroached on violent outbursts or the need for outside interventions. 

With so many missteps available for protesters and counterprotesters alike, what is the correct route for Lehigh students to take to engage in critical and educational demonstrations without alienating their peers or sacrificing their beliefs?

For one, we need to start listening to one another. 

Vice President of Student Affairs Ricardo Hall echoed this sentiment in a campus-wide email April 27.

“I ask all members of our community to continue to uphold university standards and express themselves in a way that is compassionate and respectful to all, particularly those in our Jewish and Palestinian communities who may be hurting.”

We agree with Hall’s words, which aren’t radical. In fact, The Brown and White editorial board wrote similarly last fall about the value of open learning.

It’s imperative to our campus ecosystem that students are empowered to express themselves in respectful manners. That includes a willingness to work with others who hold positions different from our own. 

So much of the discourse surrounding the war in the Middle East is plagued by buzzwords that are effectively used by both sides to sort those who are with them with those who are against them: “Do you condemn Hamas?,” “Free Palestine,” “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Oftentimes, those invested in this debate will hear one of these phrases and make a series of assumptions about who they are and what they believe. Some of you are probably scanning the diction of this document to find a box to place us in.

What we ask in our last editorial of the semester is that you take a step back and try to refrain from making these snap judgements, at least at first. When you find yourself in a heated discussion with someone you disagree with, try not to make assumptions about their values.

We all want the famine and destruction in Gaza to end, we all want the hostages to go home. Nobody wants to see more death.

If you can hold on to this place of agreement when conducting yourself on campus, hopefully we can lower the temperature of this heated discourse.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Davenport on

    “ We all want the famine and destruction in Gaza to end, we all want the hostages to go home. Nobody wants to see more death.”

    If this was a universal belief the conditions we see at “newsworthy” universities would not exist.

    Lehigh and The Brown and White should be commended for the way they have responded to the Middle East situation and the destructive protests in several American universities.

Leave A Reply