By Emily Dougan
As we are all well aware, Vice President of Enrollment and University Communications Michael Beseda recently sent out an email in which he, maybe unintentionally, made it sound like we are less than perfect.
Obviously, his wording was awful and people were angry, but what was most damaging about this event was the amount of Willamette hatred it inspired.
Students were pissed, and perhaps rightfully so. Frustration over discrimination, high tuition fees and bad food was brought up. Some of this anger is righteous and its source does need to be addressed, but do we really need to be breeding bitterness within our student body?
Disillusionment is understandable. After four years in a place, especially one as small and socially restrictive as Willamette, it’s easy to get tired of it, to see its flaws. But there are more constructive ways of doing this than posting angry Facebook statuses or writing passive-aggressive emails to administrators.
For example, a post made on the “Willamette University Hey You’s” Facebook page a few weeks ago said that the posts on the page had made the person sad to go to school with all of us. While I did honestly chuckle at this, it’s really not an effective way of addressing your discontent.
In addition to personal attacks on the student body, I also feel that this unfiltered Willamette self-hate has to have some impact on the egos of our fine professors, who do a lot of hard work trying to give us a better education than for what we pay.
It seems pretty rude to complain about the University to the person who is paid way less money than they deserve to educate us. And hey, they are dealing with the administration, too. For the sake of our professors, we have got to find a better channel through which to discuss our disillusionment.
Instead of posting passive-aggressive “Hey You’s!” let’s try being constructive in our discontent. Many people are already doing a lot to bring change and balance to campus, but maybe it’s time for more involvement, a kind of “student body civil society.”
Bring it up with ASWU, talk to the administrators, form petitions, all of that stereotypical civic stuff. It’s cliché, but sometimes it’s the only thing that is effective. And it can’t hurt to try, right?
There are obviously bad things about Willamette. We are a primarily white, middle-class, straight student body. Our tuition is too damn high, and it’s impossible to find a recycling bin anywhere outside (get on this, administration).
But you know what? This is not purely a Willamette issue. Universities of much lower quality than Willamette charge exorbitant amounts for tuition; it’s a “higher education in the United States” issue.
Why waste time name-calling and bringing people down when we could use this as an opportunity to address a greater problem?