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Academic writing should be more accessible


The education system as we know it was created to serve the people. Its main purpose should be to create a more educated society, a sentiment that still holds true to this day. Universities are a place where many young minds come to be cultivated, to convene and revel in the shared experience of information seeking. And it is where many of those minds go on to find breakthroughs in fields that shape our civilization.

However ideal education is, pursuing this privilege is simply not something accessible to all people. Unfortunately, there are many who do not have the financial means to engage in this academic reverie, and because of this, are left out of the majority of conversations taking place in academia.

The way those in an academic environment communicate is in fact, so distinct, that many consider it to be a “language” of its own. And for those who do not inherit that language from educated parents, this can be yet another barrier to information that is otherwise empowering.

Institutions of higher education must stress the use of accessible language, especially considering the subject matter of many academic fields centers around the very same people who are not able to engage in them.

Areas of study like economics, social justice and criminal justice are inextricably linked to the plights of less privileged people thus, increasing the burden to avoid flowery writing, obscure jargon and overly complex verbiage.

These conversations are not always the easiest to have. They go beyond the base level ideas learned in grade school and grow increasingly detailed and complex. That, however, does not mean that they are conversations that cannot be conveyed using a more common vernacular. The self-gratifying use of obscure language only adds to the cost of entry on learning at the expense of those who need it most.

If academia can make an effort to moderate inaccessible writing, then doors can be opened to those lacking in a higher education to participate in academic discussions. Afterward, there will truly exist a possibility for having a society of people where no one is left in the dark on its complexities. The difference between those who can partake should not come down to class or income and it certainly should not be determined by words.

– James Debbah is a digital media innovation junior


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