PVCC Community Voices

PVCC faculty and student answer questions submitted to the Sept. 11 Teach-in.


As a student, how can we bring about positive change to the community without being political?

From a Faculty perspective.

As an individual, you cannot change others around you. However, you can first look inward and find your true voice. Understanding your values, and how your attitudes and behaviors affect others is the first step in building bridges with others. We all must remember, that each of us have a voice, and it is just as important to listen to other viewpoints. In listening, keep an open mind. Hear the other opinions on subjects before you decide a side. In many instances, there are more variables between the sides on the subject at hand, that you may not have thought about.

Elaine Nichols

PVCC DMS Program Director

DMS Sonography Club


This question seems to contain two parts. First, to bring positive change to the community, simply find a cause about which you are enthusiastic, and remain committed. Whether your passion is affordable housing or animal welfare, Charlottesville has a volunteer organization for you. Second, though, I make a separate plea for you to get involved in politics. Although the impulse to avoid such discourse comes from a good place—usually not wishing to offend—it is important to educate yourself about political matters that affect your generation, as an informed population is vital to a free society.

Danielle DeRise

Adjunct Assistant Professor of English


Politics built this great nation, yet today we use the word as a pejorative. We have turned “being political” into a foul act to our detriment. Let us remake it into a good act that promotes civic learning, engagement, and progress. Let us do it by voting for officials that we believe will better our community. Let us focus on the right actions and policies to enact, not just on trashing our opponents. Let us fearlessly and cordially criticize ideas, not people, free from the shackles of uncompromising dogmas. This will bring positive change like no other.

Mark Denneman

PVCC student and PTK Member


How does Charlottesville reconcile with its past while preserving history and creating a powerful legacy for other cities and nations to follow?


I strongly disagree with the idea that, if we take down a statue from a public place like a park, we are somehow erasing history. To people who use this argument, I would ask: When you saw Iraqis pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein, or Russians tearing down statues of Stalin and Lenin, was your first response ‘How terrible – those countries are destroying their history’? Or did you rejoice that those people wished to publicly demonstrate that their former leaders no longer represented their values as a society? If the latter, then I submit that you’re being hypocritical if you use the ‘defending history’ argument now. The place for preserving history is in a museum; the purpose of a public monument is to display and affirm the qualities we celebrate as a culture. So then we must ask: Do Lee and Jackson represent values that should inspire our city today?For my part, I don’t see any part of their legacy that should make us keep them in our pantheon of heroes.

By all means let any museum, public or private, that wishes to take the statues do so – that is where they belong. In their place, let us put up statues that affirm our values today. And if, a hundred years from now, our descendants no longer respect our values, let them replace our monuments with their new heroes. The past should educate us, but never imprison us.

Bruce Glassco

Professor of English

Short URL: http://www.piedmontforum.com/?p=32415

Posted by on Oct 10 2017. Filed under Campus News, From the Forum, News, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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