In arguments, leave school pride out of the equation

Rachel Freeman

Recent debate over Student Government singing “The Eyes of Texas” at their weekly meetings reflects a larger problem on campus. Some students are now trying to question other Longhorns’ school pride as a argumentative device instead of focusing on real policy debates.  

Conversations about school policy — from singing school songs to changing degree requirements — should focus on the merits of the argument, not personal attacks. Bringing up questions of school pride distracts from valid points. Instead, Longhorns should focus on making their arguments more persuasive, not their attacks more insulting.

UT has always been home to passionate students who have a desire to make campus a better place. However, with more than 50,000 students there are plenty of differing opinions about how to make the campus and UT better. While disagreements are natural, Longhorns should make sure to remain respectful of each other. 

Government junior Jacob Morton can see this problem in his daily life on campus. “I have conservative friends who poke at UT for some of their policies, but they’re still proud to be Longhorns,” Morton said. “They still throw the hook ‘em up and want to see us beat OU. Just because they don’t agree with every policy position at UT doesn’t mean they don’t love their university.” 

I have heard other students question other Longhorns’ school pride when they have a difference of opinion, in particular when talking about confederate statues allusions on campus and Student Government campaigns. There’s no stipulation that students have to support their school, but many students do take pride in being a Longhorn and questioning their loyalty is pretty offensive. 

Abhilash Chilakamarthi, a computer science senior, agreed he would be offended if someone used his loyalty to UT as an argument against his opinion. “I’d feel like the other person didn’t really respect my point of view or regard it as worthwhile,” Chilakamarthi said.

When someone advocates for a policy change, that implies they care about the policy and the people who are affected by it. For specific UT policies the people affected by it are primarily the faculty, staff and students within the UT institution. Students trying to change policy to help the UT institution improve — however they define improvement — are showing that they have a love for the University as a whole. 

Reasonable people can disagree about what needs to change to make the University better, but people on both sides should recognize that a difference of opinion doesn’t equate to a lack of good intentions. Students should focus on having productive discussions instead of allowing debates to dissolve into insults and personal attacks. 

The University has plenty of problems that need to be solved, and we have no time to waste on rude and, frankly, irrelevant topics. If an argument must be supplemented by inflammatory language, then it’s probably a weak argument. Longhorns should focus on creating and articulating arguments that are convincing on their own without demeaning their opposition. We need to recognize, at the end of the day, most of us just want to work to improve campus and beat the hell out of OU. 

Freeman is a international relations and global studies junior from Cedar Park. Follow her on Twitter @rachel_frmn.