The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The trustees’ silence

OP/ED
 The trustees silence
The trustees’ silence

The trustees’ silence

Without all of the reasons, the evidence and the feasibilitystudies, it is hard to really understand what is behind lastweek’s decision to cut the men’s track and fieldteam.

In the coming week, hopefully all the missing facts will come tolight. Then the student body will be given its rightful chance tovoice its opinion — what I hope is its profounddisappointment with the Board of Trustees’ decision.

While the merits of the decision await an open debate, one thingis very clear: the revelation of this decision was handledexceptionally poorly. And that, my friends, is putting itnicely.

The team was told Wednesday, the campus Thursday and the finalvote taken Friday. Within two days, SMU men’s track and fieldhad no future.

It takes at least three days to apply for sanctioned space toprotest, and once secured, the constraints on an”acceptable” demonstration nearly paralyze theeffort.

If Gandhi had abided by those required restrictions, India wouldstill be part of the United Kingdom.

This silence on the part of the administration is not merelylimited to the student body at large, but to the members of StudentSenate, including the student body officers. While it is anexcellent part of this university’s policy that students doindeed sit on the governing boards (and therefore voted on thisdecision), these few students are by no means the full extent ofstudent communication with the administration.

They should not be relied on as such.

Add to this secrecy the press conference held on Friday, and allthat is left is a near complete boycott of student involvement, onethat requires neither permit nor approval.

This unacceptable circumvention of students and their electedrepresentatives is a betrayal of the very purpose of thoserepresentatives, and regardless of the rationale, casts a largecloud of doubt over the basis of the decision.

How could it truly have been student focused if steps,exceptionally well-executed steps, were taken to almost completelyavoid the larger student voice?

Truly, in a university whose mission is “enhanc[ing] theintellectual, cultural, technological, ethical and socialdevelopment of a diverse student body” this most recentdisregard for students adds a noticeably hollow ring to that noblepurpose.

In what way is cutting a nationally successful team ofinternational athletes conducive to the development of any of theabove goals of the university?

Though, I must say, the means by which the decision wasannounced certainly have taught us all valuable lessons aboutethical development.

The steps taken concerning the Men’s track and field teamby the administration are truly deplorable, and if they get nothingelse from this article, here’s a freebie. This university isdesigned to prepare its students to “become contributingcitizens and leaders for our state, nation and world.”

In my experience, it does a pretty good job. Please remember,Board of Trustees, that next time you cut us out of the decisionmaking process, next time you so blatantly disregard our right tohelp guide this university, that we still followed the rules.

We did not protest in a disorganized fashion, did not get caughtup in the moment. We did not even do a sit-in outside the boardmeeting. We chose to be those leaders we are educated to be, andwaited.

We waited for your explanations, for your reasons and, most ofall, for your apology.

Thanks for coming to Senate on Tuesday. I’m glad we talkedabout the track team. But know that we invited you.

We sought you because we respect that you are an important partof this community. The least you can do is show us this samerespect in the future.

 

Travis Glenn is senior economics and international studiesdouble major. He is also a member of Student Senate. He may bereached at [email protected].

More to Discover