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


Can you hear me now?

Ed Board thinks that SMU students should speak out

Happy Halloween everyone! Time to break out the costumes, string up the cobwebs and come to class pounding headache the morning after. Oh, sorry, Halloween was two days ago. But Ed Board is as festive as ever and still in the spirit, so today we’ll be dressed up as “concerned students.”

We know it’s all a bit cliché, but we hope you’ll forgive our costume flub much like you did the 20 people you saw dressed as Ron Burgundy.

Another school who has recently gotten in like spirit is Gallaudet University, a liberal arts school for the deaf in Washington D.C. who after a month long protest convinced their school to fire their newly appointed university president.

The dispute all started last May when the University first appointed Jane K. Fernandes as president of the university. The school’s choice to hire Fernandes drew immediate opposition on campus, despite strong support from outgoing President I. King Jordan.

Protesters said that Fernandes was an inept leader as provost and that she was not the best person to address the school’s problems: a lack of diversity, declining enrollments and low graduation rates. Outrage spread across campus as students felt that their university had failed to listen them in its presidential selection.

Students wasted no time in conveying their disapproval though. Whether through burning her in effigy, barricading themselves inside one of the main campus buildings or camping out on campus and thus halting classes, almost all students protested Fernandes’s presidency in some way.

After finally giving into student opposition, the school’s board of trustees said its decision to reverse course was “a necessity” after protesters, citing Fernandes’ discordant style, remained in a standoff with the administration.

Ed Board thinks this is one case where the most important issue here isn’t what spurred the conflict between students and their university, or who threw the first stone. Instead what’s really significant here is how the students of Gallaudet chose react to it.

Instead of just sitting around getting angry and staying boxed in by the oppressive higher powers at be, as a unified community they went out and did something about it. And while their actions might be construed as extreme measures, sometimes you have to realize that using your inside voice just isn’t going to make you heard.

Ed Board isn’t saying that students should take up their torches L.A. riot style and storm the administration screaming for blood, but we do think SMU students could take note of what Gallaudet has done here and learn from it.

To some these tactics might seem at the very least childish, or to others full of enough “flower power ethics” to make the most over zealous hippie blush, but Ed Board thinks there’s a lot more to it than that.

There’s just something refreshing about a group of people who are essentially nothing more than strangers, all with different backgrounds, coming together for a common goal and standing strong until they’ve won. Sometimes it takes something outside of an after school special to incite change in people, this instance is no different. Look at what the students of Gallaudet have accomplished just by coming together and supporting one another.

If that doesn’t warm your heart, inspire you to apply conviction to anything you really care about, or get you to sing “khum bay yah,” it’s doubtful anything will.

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