Meet Our Members: Shreya Patel

Ongoing series focusing on giving our members a platform to voice their experiences and opinions

Hello, hello! I’m Shreya Patel and I am a Sociology/Pre-Medicine sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. One day during finals week in December, I ran into Alice Barrett in the library. She told me that she and a group of people had put up informative posters around campus after the recent Ferguson decision to raise awareness about police brutality. I thought this was very important, not to get people to think one way or another, but rather to have an opinion that is informed. In today’s society, we are much too quick to make judgments based on very little information or stereotypes. I was appalled when Alice told me about reactions students had when reading the posters being put up – many of them alarmingly disrespectful. What frustrated me was that many students preferred to reject these social problems as nonexistent rather than acknowledge them. Our conversation in the library went from police brutality to racial stereotypes to gender inequalities, earning icy glares from passing students. I quickly realized that though I find it important to acknowledge such problems, keeping it to myself is not enough. Discussing social issues almost a taboo on campus. Those who express their opinions are harshly judged, disregarded, or even asked to tone it down. I don’t think everyone should or will have the same opinions on every issue, but it’s important that we feel comfortable enough to share them in a respectable manner. It’s a conversation that needs to be started, and that conversation starts here.

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