By Technician's editorial board
September 18, 2009
The Facts: Student activism and advocacy has steadily declined since
the American Civil Rights Movement -- the freedom struggle. Angela
Davis, a lifelong activist, challenged students to stay active and
participate actively in society, a truly universal message.
Our Opinion: Today's students are increasingly apathetic toward their
surrounding environment. Students must take it upon themselves to
advocate and be the catalysts for change.
Angela Davis, one of America's most prominent political activists,
spoke last night at Stewart Theater in Talley Student Center.
Davis has been on the FBI's most wanted list, run for vice president
with Communist Party USA and served as a life-long advocate for civil
rights in its many forms. Few other credentials are required to
testify to the contentious nature of her life's work.
She is a polarizing figure, but few would argue that she lacks
passion in her advocacy.
This is a trait most students at N.C. State lack, and one that they
must find within themselves.
Within the past year, President Bill Clinton and now Angela Davis
have ardently encouraged students to get out and make a difference.
Many students are at college for their majors and those alone, the
aspects of diversity and well-roundness have been lost in the
educational experience and students seem to have developed severe
apathy towards their surrounding environment.
The University, and colleges across the country, have systematically
phased out general education requirements to the point that many
students lack awareness to the basics of the western civilization they inhabit.
The Davis speech on civil rights and activism drew a large audience
-- the room was almost entirely occupied. But how many students knew
the complete story of Angela Davis? Several students in the audience
were unaware of her life's occupation and admitted they were only
attending for Scholars or political science credit -- there were at
least 50 Scholars program attendees.
Students must inform themselves on the history of this country and
its many historical figures, if for no other reason than fundamental
A college education no longer requires a mandatory western
civilization style class. But this doesn't mean students are exempt
from the burdens of advocacy and involvement.
Davis and other revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Huey Newton and
Stokely Carmichael were vocal and sometimes violent protestors for
civil rights and liberties. This isn't the norm and certainly isn't
right for all people. But this style of advocacy certainly has merits
for its passion -- something which many U.S. students lack outside
In many parts of the world, students are the major catalysts of
change, the protestors in the street and the force in front of the
iron fist of government. That student activism has fallen out of
favor on this campus and country is a social ill.
Students should, and must, attempt to educate themselves. If nothing
else, use this generation's technologies, open Wikipedia every once
in awhile and learn the people and the issues around them.