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The Town­houses are the official on-campus quar­antine zones. Courtesy | Kalli Dal­rymple

Nobody really knows what to do in this sit­u­ation.

Everyone is trying to do what is best.

But the time to be silent has passed.

We are here at Hillsdale College to study the good, the true, and the beau­tiful.

Our honor code says, “Through edu­cation a student will rise to self-gov­ernment.” 

We say that college is a part­nership. But I do not see this hap­pening here lately.

I see a college that is giving in to the demands of the state. I see a student body that is allowing its life to be dic­tated to it, no matter its con­vic­tions to the con­trary.

I have been just as guilty. I have stayed silent about what I believe. But I believe we can’t do this any longer. We are at a point where, in order to pursue what the college claims to believe in, the stu­dents must stop com­plying.

We must govern our­selves, trust our fellow stu­dents, and live our lives without con­stant fear of the coro­n­avirus.

We are living in con­stant fear of who can contact-trace you, fear of who may be sick, and fear of being guilted by fellow stu­dents for not doing the “right” thing. But if my moral compass has to be adjusted to what someone else says is right, is that truly the right thing? 

We all chose Hillsdale for the freedom to grow, to learn, and to be the best human beings pos­sible. We must ask our­selves: are we achieving that goal right now? 

How is this an “in-person” semester if many healthy stu­dents are con­fined to their rooms?

Is contact-iso­lating nearly 20% of stu­dents, though many are asymp­to­matic and not a single COVID-19 case has resulted in hos­pi­tal­ization, either “true” or “the good?” Is watching class via Zoom while alone in your room “part­nership?” Is turning in our friends for contact-tracing “the beau­tiful?”

Hillsdale’s beliefs are easy to believe when times are good, but now is the time to prove that we can practice what we preach. Now is the time for Hillsdale College to show that we can govern our­selves. 

I know some are at risk. I know some are scared. I do not want to dis­count that risk and fear. But respon­si­bility for one’s health falls to that person alone. That is what self-gov­ernment means. You cannot rely on admin­is­tration or gov­ernment to protect you from every­thing. 

Now is not the time to hand over more power to the gov­ernment, but to take back what we see as right and moral, by fighting for what Hillsdale believes in: college as a part­nership. Allowing stu­dents to grow and govern them­selves, trusting us to do what is right by our own con­sciences, is the best way to protect our­selves and our college.

The pro­tection of the college cannot fall on mask man­dates and quar­an­tining the healthy to support it. It must fall on the pro­tection of our ideals and what we do here. If we wish to remain a standard of freedom and self-gov­er­nance in higher edu­cation, we must stay true to our teachings and fight for what we believe in. We must learn, live, and grow together — not “together apart.”  

Hillsdale College stu­dents should demon­strate that we are not sheep, though much of the rest of the nation may be. This is our moment to demon­strate the virtues of the self-gov­er­nance we praise.

 

Mar­leigh Kerr is a sophomore studying pol­itics and religion.