Controversy Engulfs Convocation: Students take advantage of hashtag

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Anna Meyer '17

From a young age, we are taught to abide by the adage that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. As a general rule of thumb, this maxim is one we should all follow, regardless of our personal opinions or feelings. While freedom of expression is legitimate, there are instances in which the manifestation of a personal stance must be restricted.

On October 8th, our very own Mr. Scott MacClintic ’82, Director the the Kravis Center for Excellence in Teaching and science teacher, delivered a convocation on how to “study smarter—not harder”. In his address to the community, he exposed some recent findings in neuroscience and discussed how to best take advantage of study time. A passionate teacher with genuine interest in the success of his students, Mr. MacClintic took the stage with the purpose of enlightening the community by sharing methods to maximize the potential of particular study techniques. Some of the insight in his presentation included the truth about the unbeneficial exercises of highlighting and re-reading, and the extreme effectiveness of retrieval and distributive practice.

To expedite the process of asking questions during convocation, which requires designating time and cutting presentations, Mr. MacClintic set up a twitter hashtag handle, opening the door to an abundance of inquiries and hoping to create a platform on which to continue the chat. Mr. MacClintic’s intention, as Director of Experiential Learning Mr. Fred Kuo expressed and applauded, was “to get students to engage in the conversation through social media.” Unfortunately, however, some members of the student body abused the handle and posted tweets to the #LCNeuro hashtag that bashed the symposium. Some trending tweets included messages from students indicating their desire to leave the convocation, inappropriate commentary that was completely unrelated to the matter at hand, and questions on the purpose of the discussion, which was, above all, to help the students.

In observing this uncharacteristic behavior, I was quite shocked and disappointed by the lack of judgment in decision making and great disrespect towards a member of our tight-knit, supportive, and caring community.

While the intent may not have been malicious, disrespect of any kind is not supported on the Island. What was wholeheartedly envisioned to equip us, the students, with a more efficient studying tool belt, was not received in the correct manner. Rather than being engaged in the right ways, being intellectually stimulated, and most importantly, being respectful and appreciative to a member of our community who went out of his way to help us, some students chose to complain and not pay attention.

Next time, think before you speak, or in this case, think before you tweet. What may seem like a harmless joke is in actuality, an offensive, unappreciative, and disrespectful expression of opinion. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.