Express yourself

As a Millennial coming of age in the United States, it’s frustrating to be generalized as part of a population that doesn’t care about anything (other than twerking).

Politicians, professors and parents are among those asking my peers and me what we stand for. Unfortunately, at this point, many Millennials don’t have an answer. Even more unfortunately, those who do are often chastised for their answers.

On Dec. 5, Grand Valley State University’s student newspaper, the Lanthorn, ran an editorial questioning the increasing presence of donor names on campus buildings and addressed its possible impact on GVSU’s mission as a public university.

With 31 new rooms being named after donors just this year, the “No More Billboards” columnist was concerned that if this trend continued, academic integrity and freedom could be sacrificed.

The administrative response to the editorial was, in one word, disheartening.

Lanthorn editor-in-chief Lizzy Balboa was personally contacted by three of GVSU’s top administrators. The administrators accused the Lanthorn staff of being “ungrateful” to donors (despite thanking them in an editorial earlier this year), suggested that they were undeserving of their merit-based scholarships and asked the publication to recant the editorial.

In other words, Balboa and the Lanthorn staff were attacked for expressing an original thought.

But wait, I thought Millennials were just under attack for not having any original thoughts? Ugh, I can’t keep up.

As a Bulldog, I never thought I’d say this, but way to go Grand Valley—the Lanthorn that is. The Torch admires your commitment to honest discussion and critical thinking. Please continue to express your opinions and question authority for the benefit of students.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

In our case, fellow Millennials, it’s time for life to begin. Find your voice and break the silence. Like the Lanthorn staff, stand up for what you believe in.