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The Milton Measure

[Editorial] Self-Censorship Plagues Student Body

by on Friday, October 11th, 2013

As Milton’s official student publication, we challenge ourselves to reflect on issues present in our lives at school each and every day. Our goal, just as it has been in years past, is to address these controversial issues openly not merely because we are interested in doing so but also because it is our responsibility to convey the thoughts of the student body. However, in recent years, students have been hesitant to push the bounds of intellectual discourse, a limitation that reflects the increasingly cautious mindset of the student body. Consequently, we, not only as a publication but as a Milton students, often choose to play on the safe side, avoiding anything that might result in disciplinary repercussions.

One might ask, “What changed?” This increase in student self-censorship is partly the result of changing times. The internet – and more specifically social media – has catapulted opinions across a much broader medium, so words can have farther reaching consequences in this day and age. In years past, we have touched on a variety of disputed issues; for example, an interview with five students who had been controversially expelled. Now, however, since such an article would be published online, it would be made available to all prospective employers, impeding the professional futures for the subjects of the stories.

Nevertheless, we accept that some of the resistance behind publishing such polemical material is actually student-based, a result of the changing student culture at the school. But this growing fear, this hesitance to vocalize our opinions could potentially stem from another location. For example, in last spring’s boarding monitor elections, the administration requested that students refrain from cheering for their dormmates, as the encouragement from the crowd in previous elections was deemed disruptive, loud, and time-consuming. However, by eliminating this spirited manner of support, the administration also silenced the traditional element of camaraderie that accompanies this event. As a result, boarding students have been more tentative to express their dorm pride at school events, such as senior walk-in, for fear of disciplinary confrontation. In fact, the students who chose to retain such a spirit in this fall’s walk-in found themselves in an aftermath that justified the reluctance of other dorms to vocalize their pride.

Milton sells the image of a typical student as diversely talented, fun-loving, and vocal, an image from which the reality is not drastically distant; however, as a result of administrative stringency, we students are beginning to prevent ourselves from fulfilling this ideal, narrowing our own boundries of what is “acceptable.” We’re encouraging each other, and the rest of the student body, to forget their fears and remember the spirited and open-minded atmosphere that drew us to Milton in the first place. Cheer for your dorm. Dress up for sports games. Express yourself. We want you all to ask yourselves, “What would you do at Milton if you weren’t afraid?” Figure out what the fear is that’s holding you back, and consider the strides you might make for future Milton generations by putting that fear aside.

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Posted by on Oct 11 2013. Filed under Editorial, More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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