Last year, the Global Justice Project's Freshman Disorientation packet had its desired effect upon me. It disoriented me at the beginning of my freshman year. I was not disoriented in the way the G.J.P. intended, though; I was disoriented from the left in the Boston College community.
While reading this year's recently distributed edition, I was able to grasp why the packet, which contains many excellent points and articles, upset me. With only a few articles, actually with only a few incendiary phrases and blurbs, it put me on the defensive; and thus I shut out many of the positive ideas in the packet because I felt antagonized toward the organization.
The Global Justice Project is a self-proclaimed "radical" organization. It seems that the caustic and partisan prose they use suggests that they must reassure themselves and their freshman readers of their radical nature. They make several good points, but then negate these very points by either taking them too far or throwing in an unnecessary jab when their idea has been expressed sufficiently.
Take for example the first article, a critique of the B.C.P.D. The G.J.P. makes valid complaints about the aggressiveness of the department, providing a helpful list of student rights, but then the G.J.P. turns irrational. They say that the B.C.P.D. has "little effect" on the safety of students. Freshman can consider the merits of that statement after reading a recent article in The Heights concerning a B.C.P.D. officer pulling over an armed drug dealer and arresting him on campus. They also suggest that legal jurisdiction should be stripped from the B.C.P.D. and given to a neighborhood force. If B.C.P.D. were stripped of jurisdiction, than common misdemeanors, which B.C.P.D. usually handles internally, would end up being handled externally with far more dire consequences for students.
The Disorientation packet includes other irrational and confrontational passages. One labels the B.C. Board of Trustees "Men and Women for Profit," although over 20% of their members are Catholic priests sworn to poverty. Another denounces all Republicans as "rich, white, and elitist." The G.J.P. must realize how much influence their packet has on freshman. It is true that the packet may induce a few radical students (or at least those who consider themselves radical) to join their cause; but it alienates many more who are on not on the left tip of the political spectrum. Again, the majority of the packet contains valid, well-defended points; however a few illogical and inflammatory phrases drown these out. As Boston College's "largest education and activist organization of the Progressive Left," the G.J.P. should tone down its rhetoric so they don't become the only ones left on the left.
Front Page (October 3, 2005)
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