For the most part, the alumni responses to posts on Muhlenberg’s Facebook page are positive. They are pleased with strides the school is taking to improve academics and they celebrate our sports teams’ victories. It’s pretty common to see an alum commenting on how “proud” they are of their alma mater. However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Naturally, there are those who are upset with the direction the college is going and they are not afraid of showing it. Of course there is nothing wrong with voicing concern, but these “concerns” all seem to have a common theme: social activism.
It is no secret that the students at Muhlenberg are very active in social justice movements and, for the most part, the college supports these endeavors in the form of organizing transportation to various marches and the like. These student and college movements often make it onto Muhlenberg’s social media platforms to raise awareness and garner publicity.
Recently, Muhlenberg College pledged to defend the #NeverAgain movement, joining a growing number of colleges stating they will not penalize students who are disciplined for taking part in peaceful protests.
This includes high school students that have applied, are in the process of applying, or have been accepted to college. It is a response to school administrators telling students that being disciplined for protesting will hurt their chances of going to college. This shows that institutions of higher education are willing to stand by students who want the right to be able to receive an education without danger which, in my opinion, is a good thing.
Not everyone agrees with me, though. There are those who say that those who break the rules should be penalized and deal with the consequences, likening it to that fact that protesting at work will apparently get you fired. If that is the case, then how is it that workers were able to fight for shorter work weeks, for better pay, and for safer conditions? They rallied through organized protest, just like the students are doing now.
An alumni response to Muhlenberg’s #NeverAgain Pledge
The negative response to Muhlenberg’s pledge raises some interesting patterns. Going through the past year of posts on Muhlenberg’s Facebook page, all of the negative comments are on posts pertaining to various social justice movements. Many of these are simply condemning the movements and Muhlenberg’s support for them, suggesting that it is going to change how the college is viewed. Others have even alluded to withholding monetary support due to the college’s continued support.
What is it about a college supporting changing times makes people so angry? There are plenty of things that can be said about Muhlenberg, from its lack of diversity to its extremely high tuition, but there are no comments about any of these. Social issues are always a topic that make people uncomfortable, especially those who are part of the group that have privilege and benefit from inequality.
Social injustice is a necessary conversation and change is going to happen. It doesn’t matter if alumni are against a movement and they don’t like that their alma mater is accepting of it. Change happens, no matter what people comment on Facebook posts. There used to be a time where male students at Muhlenberg were highly against women enrolling in the college and that clearly didn’t stop progress.