“I’m not going to just protest for myself,” said Char Crear. “I’m going to protest for the people that are being affected but they’re too discouraged to.”
After the announcement of the 8.5% tuition increase, students at Westminster organized a silent protest in December. Through participating, it created a strong sense of community and allowed for students to enter new spaces, according to Crear, a sophomore psychology major.
“We definitely found a common ground,” Crear said. Now she can walk up to any student and ask them about the issue to have an honest discussion, according to Crear.
Protests serve as an invitation for people to join a community, according to Marissa Martinez, a sophomore nursing major.
“It’s powerful to be with people who also want change,” Martinez said. “It also makes me feel less alone in my beliefs.”
Crear said when students say that protesting doesn’t solve the problem, it’s important to respect their opinion.
“I would try to engage in conversation and ask them, ‘Why do you feel that way?’” Crear said. “I might even offer reasons to why they should [protest.] Ultimately, I don’t want to push them.”
One of the best options is to provide students with research on how effective protesting can be, according to Martinez.
“I do believe that [protests] are effective in many ways,” Martinez said. “Not just the protests themselves, but just being there. It gets people active and gets people together.”
In regards to experiencing the silent protest in December, people can interpret it in different ways, according to Char Crear.
“I interpreted it as students coming together and raising their voices,” said Crear. “I think that’s what every protest is: raising your voice.”