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Clubs diversify campus

 VSU contains a wide array of organizations from the social life of the Greeks, the art styles of The Film and Video Society and the VSU Ballroom Dance Club, the liberal views of the VSU Gay-Straight Alliance to the religious gatherings of Campus Outreach and the Baptist Collegiate Ministries.
 According to a recent report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, more than a third of students think it is safe to have contrasting views on campuses.
 With all the variety mixed into our population, VSU provides a pretty secure environment to preserve our freedom of speech.
 Robin Vickery, director of Student Life and Student Union director, stated she could not think of any past events that caused problems. 
 “(VSU Gay-Straight Alliance) has never really had problems of the negative sort,” Doel Parrilla, a senior, philosophy major and GSA president, said. “Most of the attention that we received has been positive or apathetic to be quite honest.”
 College is a time to ideally explore your options and get a sense of who you are in a contained environment. You interact with people from all different backgrounds and places every day on this campus, whether you formally meet them or just pass them on your way to class.
 This past February, the Resident Assistants of Georgia Hall took advantage of our constitutional rights with their “Freedom Wall”. This experiment was to promote respect and equality among the residents but instead created a lot of controversy.
 The display had a good purpose in allowing the students to express themselves about past and current issues. Hatred amongst different ethnic groups has dated back for centuries; in modern times, we should be more accepting of those who are unlike ourselves.
 Not everyone is open-minded, though, and might disagree with some of the organizations offered, for religious or personal reasons.
 Last February, both Sigma Gamma Rho and Delta Sigma Theta had their signs burned down during their respective Greek weeks. Sigma Gamma Rho’s sign read, “Sigma Gamma Rho Week Royal Comeback 2010,” while Delta Sigma Theta’s said, “Burn it down if you want to.” The  perpetrator of these hate crimes was never caught.
 Where there are supporters, there will always be challengers, people who want to create conflict or just want attention. This fact should not stop students from partaking in their activities, standing up for their rights, or fulfilling their passions.
 Back in spring 2007, one VSU student spoke out against the administration and was expelled because of it. T. Hayden Barnes found out about the proposition of the Oak Street and Sustella parking decks and took action, such as creating a Facebook page and making flyers, to alert students of the possible environmental problems the decks could cause. Previous VSU president, Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari, viewed Barnes as a threat and expelled him from the university. On Sept. 3, Barnes won his three year lawsuit against Zaccari.
 Every college will have its problem students. In this environment of liberated expression, there will be contrasting views. We are privileged to openly express our opinions without prosecution; the Constitution protects it.
 The administration and police force are here to keep VSU safe as we wander its grounds. Many people with many ideas inhabit this campus and should feel safe to be themselves.

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