Aztecs hurt school image

by Anthony Berteaux, Senior Staff Columnist

Racist, transphobic, sexist and classist: These are all words I’ve heard this semester used synonymously with San Diego State. As a student here, I can’t be the only one who has noticed the “glass half-empty” attitude associated with the recent doings of this campus. These allegations attack all fronts of the institution that is our alma mater. What we fail to realize is these attacks aren’t coming from external sources.

Looking at the bigger picture, this semester has consisted of a series of controversial events attacking our school’s reputation. This semester alone, SDSU has been associated with a sexual assault audit, students have questioned  the racial implications of crime alerts, as well as the school mascot, and others have protested an inequality of gender neutral bathrooms.

However, the wake of such allegations leaves students in a terrifying predicament. We need to stop pointing fingers at our school administration and look at each other to realize where the real problem lies within the student body.

When we take it upon ourselves to bash our own school without probable reason or due process, we damage our own reputation along with this institution’s. It’s becoming more apparent that students make allegations without understanding the extent of how these issues relate to our administration.

For example, every time an alert has described a suspect as African American, students haven’t missed a beat before overtly labeling SDSU as racist. Before joining in on herd mentality, it’s important to note these suspect descriptions are drafted from the recollection of the victim filing the report. There comes a point when students should be held responsible for their actions.

Aside from the poorly constructed racial criticisms, those who accuse the school of misconduct fail to acknowledge any of the steps taken to irradiate these issues.

The sexual assault program went into complete overhaul. Eight gender-neutral bathrooms were added last semester in light of student concerns, and gender-neutral housing is now offered through dorm registration. Programs such as the Guardian Scholars Program and financial aid for those living in poverty are also part of the list of services ignored by SDSU’s finest critics.

Despite these efforts, the school remains a convenient target to bash on. Calling the school racist, transphobic and negligent is much more comfortable than dealing with the larger issue at hand, which happens to be the students and the decisions they make.

Personal responsibility for all students is crucial in understanding how misled everyone is in trying to discredit our administration. All fingers are pointed toward the university without any insight into where these issues stem from or how they are resolved.

Even the mascot resolution, which discredited the school as racist by using the Aztec Warrior, didn’t propose suggestions for a replacement mascot, a replacement moniker for “Aztec,” or a way to find the funding required for such a change — all it did was pull the race card on SDSU. This doesn’t account for constructive criticism or genuine concern, it’s just laziness.

This trend doesn’t seem to be going away in the near future. As a student body, we have to acknowledge that issues such as trans violence, racism, sexual assault and poverty don’t get resolved by changing policies, but by changing minds.

These issues exist because of the actions and beliefs of a culture — it isn’t something resting in the palms of this administration. No policy is going to put an end to these concerns. Pointing fingers and antagonizing the administration won’t promote cooperation toward the implementation of change.

If you’re going to make a personal choice to attend a school only to bash on it’s administration, you need to reevaluate your life decisions. Not only is bashing the school destroying your reputation as a future alumnus, but it damages your fellow Aztec’s morale and degree reputation. Our actions ripple beyond our reach. There’s a difference between bashing and constructive criticism, and it’s time this student body recognizes that. Should they fail to grasp this concept, there are hundreds of other colleges to choose from. We all know we’d be happier without them.