Stating the obvious

Opinion by Nick Ahamed
Sept. 16, 2014, 3:31 p.m.

Stanford is not perfect. After all, no university is.

Some, maybe most, of you don’t want to complain because we do go to one of the best universities in the world. But, that does not mean that Stanford is perfect. There are problems on campus that need to be addressed. By attending this university, you have a duty to our community to work on the solutions. Whatever your role, student debate, input and activism is absolutely vital to making progress.

Immediately, we need to see action on sexual assault. Stanford had the fifth most reported sexual offenses of any college in the country in 2012. A culture of reporting sexual offenses is good, but that 26 occurred is nevertheless still a problem. According to data compiled by the Washington Post, there are 1.4 sexual offenses per 1,000 students here. At the end of last year and over the summer, we saw an awakening over the crisis of sexual assault, especially with the #StandWithLeah movement. Without that conversation, I doubt that we would be seeing any movement from the University. That debate must continue.

Trivial in comparison to sexual assault, students were up in arms over losing Ike’s Place sandwiches. The merits of the case and the necessity of the debate itself aside, as a political organizer on campus, I was amazed to see students protesting in White Plaza at all. The Ike’s Place furor reflects a much larger and more serious issue: Over the last several years, we have seen the steady takeover of campus by Residential and Dining Enterprises, and it was only due to extreme student activism that Suites did not go the way of Chi Theta Chi and Ike’s. That debate too must continue.

That is the whole point: Students can and should influence these, and all, important debates on campus.

As the new Managing Editor of Opinions, I will do my best to grow those debates in this section. It is my hope that you will turn here for thoughts on these and other pressing issues. In the columns we print, you can expect conversations on technology, politics, the environment, sexuality and more.

Mindy Perkins and Raven Jiang will discuss the role of technology for individuals and in society. Aimee Trujillo, Johnathan Bowes and Pepito Escarce will together address the issues facing our country – issues that students now will be forced to solve in the coming years. And, as the world faces an uneasy Middle East, conflict in Eastern Europe and the outbreak of Ebola, AZ Gordon and Sara Orton will reflect on the international order from home and abroad. This is to name only a few of the regular voices that will be featured here.

However, I would be remiss if I led you to believe that this section will just be about debates. In fact, we will do our best to offer solutions. That starts with the Editorial Board of The Stanford Daily. While in the past this board has been underutilized, this volume, we will do our part to provide commentary on campus life. While you should also expect solutions from our columnists, you too are obligated in all of this. Every week, I receive op-ed submissions like today’s on advice to incoming freshmen. Send me more.

The Stanford Daily and the Opinions team will do our best to keep you informed on the issues facing our university, our nation and the world as they pertain to students. But, we rely on you, our readers, to act on that information. I encourage and expect you to be active citizens in your lives. This fall, that might mean submitting a piece to The Daily, or emailing an administrator because of an article, or, at the very least, engaging in discussion with your fellow students.


Contact Nick Ahamed at [email protected].


Correction: September 17, 2014

An earlier version of this article misstated that Stanford had the fifth most sexual offenses of any college in 2012. In fact, they had the fifth most reported sexual offenses.

Nick Ahamed is the Desk Editor of The Stanford Daily Editorial Board. He was Managing Editor of Opinions for Volume 246 and previously served as a political columnist. He is a senior from Minneapolis, Minn. majoring in Political Science. Contact him at nahamed 'at'

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