OPINION: Where have the old values gone?


Austin Shaw

File Photo

I’m fairly new to Wichita State, and for the most part, I have enjoyed my time here. I have met many unique individuals, taken new classes, and continuously been a part of bigger and better things.

One thing I’ve noticed are the specific values advertised across campus. Values like diversity, student empowerment and inclusivity are promoted prominently. Don’t get me wrong, these values have their place in society, with specific reasons and valid philosophies behind them.

However, it seems to me like the university, is lacking other important values.

Values I don’t hear about are truthfulness, honesty, nobility, dignity, courageousness, stalwartness, or endurance. No one asks what it means to be a noble individual, or how to conduct yourself with dignity and courage. Those don’t seem to be values that are held at WSU, or in broader society.

An example of this was during President-elect Jay Golden’s announcement. There were plenty of different values emphasized in his speech, and several different plans were mentioned — most of which I thought were good. But he, for whatever reason, did not focus on any of the “old-fashioned” values I mentioned above. This is not meant to be a criticism of the new presidnt, but rather an observation of where and how I think values at WSU and the broader social landscape have shifted.

A value I have never heard emphasized at WSU is truth and what it means to be an honest person. I will admit that I have a bias in this value, working at a newspaper and being a reporter. I value honest and objective speech more than almost anything else. Nonetheless, I think truth is something that isn’t directly emphasized or directly valued at this university.

As I mentioned above, values like diversity are more directly emphasized, and with their own set of reasons. However, I do think that we as a campus should consider what it means to be truthful and honest.

I think this is important is because accurate representation of reality is paramount when conducting yourself in the world. It’s also vital for the continued operation of large-scale social organizations. WSU should adhere to the truth and make a greater point of doing so, because without it, things have a tendency to fall apart because they don’t reflect the underlying reality of the world.

This isn’t to say that WSU is full of liars and people trying to obscure the truth, but I’m saying that we as a community should advocate explicitly for the finding of truth. I would also say that it’s important that we reflect back and explore the other values that were listed above, if only for the purposes of potentially not missing something crucial in our college experience.