This is an open letter, one that will never reach the addressee, the type of letter that mostly benefits the author and maybe open some isolated, outcasted pairs of eyes. One of those that are not meant to be read, but meant to be written and spoken to strangers with familiar faces about familiar situations, one of those often charged with aggressive passivity, when maybe all they do is delineate a relationship between two people where names are not needed, where intimacy is beyond the point and from which no friendship will spring. I start and end with who I am, and in virtue of this identity of subject and writer I sketch the outline of who you are. To begin with, this is where I am from: a multitude of places, but – for the sake of this letter’s focus – from the self-sustaining micro-universe of a crowded dining hall. My face, I know you will not know, but maybe the colors will sound familiar – red speckled with a golden name tag, black over my hair.
Arbitrarily, the entire premise of college is to expand one’s knowledge of the world and gain new perspective, both of which can be inhibited without open, uncensored dialogue about controversial topics. While such topics can be difficult to digest for many individuals, certain provoking topics such as sexual assault, cancer and war are the brutal realities of the world in which we live. Although it is not innately effortless to immerse oneself in discussion related to such matters, it is vital that students participate to broaden their educations and perspectives. Thus, while professors should be mindful of the ways they expose students to controversial materials (and perhaps caution students of universally graphic material), they should not be required to administer trigger warnings or options to “opt out” of “triggering” topics. College is not the time nor the place to evade disconcerting topics; allowing students to disengage with materials on the basis that they are not rationally capable of handling such discussions is inimical.
What were you up to this weekend? Besides the occasional mini panic attack over prelim season (which has finally come upon us) and carefully planned procrastination schemes, which I will regret later this week, the highlight of my Saturday night was actually doing something constructive and worthwhile – attending “Asia Night: The Journey” hosted by Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Union’s (CAPSU) in Duffield Hall on March 5th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. As a freshman, this was my first time attending this annual event dedicated to showcasing diverse Asian cultures. I will definitely be attending Asia Night next year, and so should you! The event was alive with many people in Duffield taking the opportunity to visit the myriad of booths, drink bubble tea, savor different foods and learn more about on-campus organizations such as Business Asia Journal and Cru Cornell. The colorful traditional attires, posters and on-point sound system made Asia Night a memorable event where Cornellians could unite to take pride in and share their heritage.