In defence of conflict

I don’t know if it was just me, but last year seemed boring as far as student politics goes. There were no great debates, no fiery speeches, not even fits of childish name-calling. Neither the Canadian Federation of Students nor the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association has truly captured our attention on any issue. I think it’s up to us to make student life more interesting.

We need some internal conflict to make things interesting. Students need to be able to choose a side on an issue, and defend it using their newly enhanced reasoning abilities.  Instead of apathy under the guise of unity, we need more student groups to promote opposing ideologies and provide opportunities for their fellow students to choose a side to fight for. Even if all we end up with is UW Cat Lovers vs. UW Dog Lovers, it will still provide sexier politics than what we saw last year.

The U of W brass may not want any conflict, but anyone who’s taken Conflict Resolution knows that conflict can be transformative. If we approach it that way, it will be so. I’m sure we’re mature enough to not let our intellectual battles escalate to the point of physical exchanges.

Aspiring student leaders, let’s see you bring an end to the age of the big-ass, apathetic student unions, and restore the power of the student movement through a new age of engaged student groups. Armed with big words, grand ideals and passions tempered in academic freedom, the student movement can change the world.

– Clifton Starr

Published in Volume 65, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2010)