There’s been a lot of discussion about the merits and purpose of the protest, both on and off-line. Here’s how I feel:
Regarding what Loki said here:
First of all, the event was only organized with the consent and oversight of the Administration itself, the very institution whose policies we were supposedly acting out against. What does this say about the commitment to student independence we were supposedly trying to defend?
It’s perfectly legitimate to work within the establishment to effect change. In fact, many times, it’s necessary. And if the school gave us the tools to fulfill our goals (a student union, money, etc) then of course we should take advane of them.
Let’s put it this way. The administration is in a bind. What are they going to do, revoke these deep-rooted privileges (and the ability to buy donuts is a privilege) and rights of student protest, assembly, etc? That would make them look even worse. So the only way to let them off the hook would be to not use those rights and privileges.
I’ve written much more “below the fold” (click on the “read the rest…” link).
As to the validity of the protests. I tend to agree with those who say that with all the problems with the Administration’s actions, protesting this, of all things, seems rather silly on it’s face. And the proposal to take Student Event’s funding may very well be correct on the merits.
That’s not the point. The protest was a general protest regarding the administrations autocratic actions over the last semester: the Student Senate considerately invited SODA to show up as a partner and conduct their own activities during the protest with their own flyers, messaging, etc. So I fully supported SODA’s role in the protest, and by extension the protest itself.
That’s not the point, either.
Here’s the deal. Even taking all some people have said and assuming that those assertions are true, the essence of what happened is as follows (again, assuming that the assumptions of a dodgy F-board, etc are correct, which I’m not going to comment on):
Student Events, Jean Eddy, etc. had a worthy proposal for streamlining the Student Events financing.
The administration agreed and committed itself to the change.
And while I may sometimes rail against the Student Senate, I fully respect it’s rights, because it represents me and my rights. If I don’t like the way the Student Senate acts, I do the same things I do when the Massachusetts Legislature or the United States Congress misbehave. I write letters, I petition, I get my position across, and I try to launch primary challenges or cross-party challenges to badly-behaving legislators. That’s expected in a liberal democracy.
What the University administration is doing is something else quite entirely.
No matter how worthy Student Event’s goals, no matter now wrong the Student Union might be, by disregarding the will of the Student Body (as expressed by it’s duly-elected representatives) the University is disregarding the will of the people, and eroding Student Autonomy.
That’s the point. Forget the merits of shuffling Student Events Funds or the supposed cronyism of F-board. This episode illustrates the fundamental disregard for student opinions on this campus. The protest wasn’t really about Student Events or even guns on campus. The protest was an attempt for the students to check the administration and say “Hey. We’re here, we matter, and you have to listen to us.”