By Jackie Thacher ’20
At Thacher, a close-knit community is integral to the overall school experience. While finding a place you feel safe is important for students, becoming too comfortable stifles the educational dialogue provided at an institute like Thacher. This stifling takes away the ability to engage with different viewpoints, to discuss challenging topics with peers and educators, and to address the changing landscape Thacher students will face post-graduation.
It was a few weeks ago, another warm September morning in Ojai, when I woke up a few minutes before my alarm. Knowing it wasn’t worth going back to sleep, I opened my laptop to the New York Times to see what was going on in the world. I expected to feel disappointed. I readied myself to learn about the latest partisan divides along with political scandals that, to me, proved nothing was truly getting done in Washington.
I didn’t, however, expect to see the headline: Updates From the Riveting Testimonies of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. I was shocked, how had I not known this was happening? Why was no one talking about it? Why had it not been at least acknowledged? Later that day, I realized my friends had no idea of the event. Although I do not currently have the time to read the morning paper every morning, I consider myself relatively in touch with the general happenings of the American political scene. With millions watching around the world, how was it possible our campus had completely missed the memo? The more people I asked, the more people I realized felt the same.
Thacher prides itself on being a safe place for ideas and people from all walks of life. The issue is finding the line between safe and repressive. It is not Thacher’s place to require a discussion from all, however, it is necessary that the school helps educate students about what is happening and how they can voice their opinions. Being a prestigious academic institution means addressing the changing society we, as students living in America, must face. As students, we will all eventually leave Thacher and meet people with whom we disagree with. The school must prepare students by fostering debates and allowing students to form and express their own opinions on events currently happening in today’s society. Addressing current events and the impact they will have on us, as students and faculty, is important to becoming an informed member of society.
If the school’s goal is to prepare us for life post-Thacher, how can we be successful if we are not taught how to discuss what is happening in the world around us? The solution for the school is simply to allow this discourse to take place, to help students educate themselves on what is happening in our country and to empower students to let their thoughts be heard.