Volume 91, Issue 80

Thursday, February 19, 1998

warm buns


The mysterious forces behing apathy

By Karen Bong
Gazette Staff

Who is Paul Davenport? What does he look like? For 300 some-odd dollars, could you convince this information to seep out of sub-consciousness into the pool of accessible information?

The mass anonymity that swallows up every figure and every issue of consequence on campus is quite noticeably a Western trait. Information about anything and everything seems to travel no further than three feet before realizing there isn't a listener, captive or conscious, for miles around. You'd think that with the tons of paper mangled into posters and glued to every conceivable surface, student awareness would be higher.

The threat of population alienation and ignorance walks hand in hand with having a university of monster proportions, but the lack of awareness at the student level is ridiculous. Anti-gravity forces must be at work, since power and information at the top of the heap doesn't trickle down into an empowered, informed base of students at the bottom. A matter-of-fact attitude that nothing going on at the decision-making table can possibly be influenced by them seems to hang at the front of every Western students' mind. Why email President Davenport to show your displeasure at the tuition hikes if it won't make a difference? Especially since his email address is nowhere to be found.

Hence no one acts. Why vote in the students' council election – it won't make a difference. Why show up at a rally protesting tuition increases; no one listens. Why bother doing anything around here? There won't be a net effect, one way or another.

The legendary indifference of which every Western student is accused is a preposterous leap in logic. How can the student heart be inflamed with passion and purpose if they're never told why it should? A lack of influence at the lowest level speaks of a poor hierarchy with too many levels and too little organization. The lack of interest or action is more than expected to follow.

The kinked lines of communication and the ivory tower of power are inherent in the structure of this university. These organizations are as deliberate and strategic as the split in justice between aristocrats and serfs long ago. The worst possible cliché has come true: at Western, you are just a number.

The most ironic thing is that noticing this culture of ignorance does nothing to change the status quo. People may read, agree or disagree, but knowing not what to do with the suggestion that they are just a tiny, insignificant speck, does nothing. And thus the magical, mysterious forces of how things are and how they will be simply just continue on.

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

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