[Editorial] One Milton, Many Voices
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 24th, 2017
This past weekend, student activists created a list of issues which they want the administration to take a public position on. They posted the list in multiple places in the Student Center, Wigg Hall, and Warren Hall, most notably outside of Mr. Bland’s office. The list calls for Milton Academy to denounce the Muslim Ban and stand with Black Lives Matter, among other issues, and our board agrees that our school should publicly support many of these pressing matters. However, these student activists cannot expect the school to take a firm stance on objectively controversial issues such as supporting “Planned Parenthood” or “Fight[ing] Against Deportation.”
By controversial issues, we mean issues for which both sides can formulate a well-informed, logical argument rooted in (non-alternative) facts. Such topics include tax policy and foreign policy, although we will not be considering those specific subjects in this editorial. As we’ve mentioned countless times, Milton Academy strives to be an inclusive and diverse community that respects and seeks out a wide array of views. If it were to institutionally declare opinions about these kinds of controversial issues, Milton would risk alienating members of the community as well as prospective students.
It is important to note that the majority of the points on the list is not actually controversial, for example advocacy for equal rights for women. Some right wingers may say such topics are fit for an argument, but gender equality and equality of treatment more generally under the law is not up for debate. Still, while the liberal majority on campus might not consider the list to be controversial, many students and faculty might disagree. As a board, we find that two undoubtedly controversial and politicized issues on the list are United States Immigration policy and Planned Parenthood.
Many students and faculty at Milton support the liberal side in debates over immigration policy or Planned Parenthood, but that’s the key word: debate. America’s stances on these two politically charged topics are constant topics of discussion in Congress with particular public focus during election cycles. So although most Milton students might share a leftist stance on the two issues, others do not. Thus, if Milton Academy took a partisan position on these tricky and sensitive matters, it would be disregarding a small but equally as important minority of this community.
Ultimately, we agree with many of the issues that the student activists posted on the walls, and we also believe that the administration needs to come out and support the topics that affect large portions of our community. Yet, student activists should also properly evaluate all of their topics, acknowledging the potential for valid but alternative views and considering whether it is reasonable to ask Milton Academy to take an institutional stance on nuanced issues with multiple sides and perspectives. Determining what issues are or aren’t controversial is an imperfect science, but the basic rule for the school remains: Milton Academy cannot establish or enforce political beliefs on the entire school.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=8690