After reading Socrates’ Apology, we were given the assignment of finding our own issue to argue for. These could be as large or as small as we wanted, from SOPA to our own issues within the school.

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, probably one of the most famous philosophers in history. He is most famous for developing the Socratic method, a system of asking questions with two people of differing viewpoints to create a forum for discussion and debate. We read from his Apology, the speech he made in his defense when he was put on trial for having and spreading atheist ideas.

I chose to address the issue of my inability to eat lunch with the other students at GCE. I have been very frustrated with this new rule being put into action and I decided to make a statement about it. I felt as if I was being censored, and there was nothing I could do to change it.

As frustrated as I am about the new rule, there are two sides to every story and I am, after much thought and deliberation, understanding of the reasons behind the decision to keep CEP students separate. I don’t support it, but I respect it.

Below is a copy of my speech:

Today I would like to ask you, have you ever been victim to segregation? It doesn’t matter why or how you were segregated, but were you?

I have experienced segregation. It is not because of my race, or my gender, or my age, but just because of my timing. Because I don’t go to GCE full time, and because I haven’t been here all year, I am unable to eat lunch or participate in school activities with the other students.

In our forbidden Books course, we are studying the negative affects censorship has on a community, but at the same time, we as CEP students are being segregated because we represent different ideas. We don’t even have them necessarily, but because of our different experiences, we are a “threat” to the community.

I understand that GCE is a school that prides itself on building healthy and open communities.

The best way to address this issue is to have a conversation with both regular and CEP students together, and to discuss why we as CEP students are having a different learning experience. Then we can create a forum for openness and discussion instead of pretending that certain parts of the school don’t exist. Once everyone is on the same page as to what their issues are, we are in a better place to reach an understanding.

In order to do this, it is necessary that you, as a faculty, accept the issues and benefits that come with admitting new students to GCE. Sometimes its easier to pretend something doesn’t exist, to censor it so we don’t have to face a difficult situation, but it isn’t always the right thing to do. Without a diverse community with different ideas, there is no way of making change for the better. We will become lazy and comfortable with the environment we are given, instead of striving every day to do better.