Last week, a student approached me and said that if she heard or read anything else about the national anthem decision at Goshen College she would throw up.I talked with a variety of students, alumni and community members this week about the upcoming premiere of the anthem, and many students, though definitely not all of them, are feeling like that first student.
Many students talked about how when they went on spring break, people who knew they were Goshen students approached them consistently wanting to know about the controversy on campus and their own opinions. Several of those students said that the constant questioning during their break from classes exhausted them and their interest in the anthem on campus.
I think much of the student body’s lethargy of the discussion is a result of the difference in perspectives. Students, especially those living on campus, are focusing on the amount of work to be done before the semester ends in only a handful of weeks, enjoying studying and being active outside in our recently sunny weather. Many people, on the other hand, are only hearing about Goshen College in relation to its anthem decision or have only just learned about Goshen College because of the decision.
This discussion is incredibly important to students, faculty and others outside the initial college community, and I hope everyone takes the time to express their opinion in a way they feel is appropriate.
I feel even more strongly that whatever your opinion on the anthem decision, you don’t let that outlook overtake your entire view of the college. After I graduate in several weeks, if people ask if I would recommend Goshen, I’ll give them my honest opinion—I am not in favor of the college’s decision, I think the process to make that decision was problematic and I think the college needs to promote a straightforward statement on their thoughts on patriotism, the flag and the anthem. However, Goshen is more than its recent anthem decision and I will tell others considering Goshen about the international, internship and leadership opportunities that I could only have had here at Goshen and about the connections and education that I also received here.
Let’s not make this a pass/fail test for Goshen College.