Why Student Organizing Matters Now

From the beginning of Brandeis students’ activism in the face of the budget crisis, many of us involved have questioned the legitimacy of “making a fuss” during tough times. The administration will inevitably cut integral pieces of academics and campus life, and there are more important problems in which to invest our energy. Can we really have an effect?

4,000 students, faculty, and staff from Southern Nevada schools rallied on Thursday
4,000 students, faculty, and staff from Southern Nevada schools rallied on Thursday

In the words of Hillel Buechler’s unsubstantiated op-ed in the Justice, greater student inclusion in decision-making “isn’t feasible for now; the University has already established a pattern of disregard for our say in making changes, and that pattern has yet to be broken.” These feelings of hesitancy, undoubtedly spreading among campus activists, are contrary to the principles of the very University we are trying to preserve.

How about the Rose Art Museum. Even as we struggle with our own emotional cost-benefit analyses, it is still integral that we express passion for what we value on campus. A college education teaches us to explore our interests, and then to immerse ourselves in what we find fulfilling, preparing us to fight for our ideals after graduation. We are supposed to utilize the confidence we develop in the classroom for positive change. In that vein, I will be attending Thursday’s sit-in (1:00 at the museum!) not because I definitively oppose the closing, but because I want to make sure that the Board of Trustees and administration deeply understands the adverse affects of this decision not only on PR and financial asset holdings, but on student morale. The Board of Trustees is removed from campus values and attitudes, which can turn the student body into a means, rather than an end, to an educational institution. We must do whatever we can to break through financial analysis and make our complaints felt.

Even if we, the students, are viewed as a means to a financial end, we need to remember that we are the most important means. We too often forget that the university depends on our money, our success, and our support. It is irresponsible for us to neglect input. The administration has not only expressed a desire to hear from students but implemented avenues of dialogue (i.e. Jehuda’s 11:00 meeting today in Sherman); it would be a humiliating demonstration of apathy for us not to partake.

Our administration is just as desperate as we are, and a mutually beneficial solution depends on discourse involving both sides! Few administrators/faculty are viewing student organizing as antagonistic, in fact they are relying on it. At a time when we are selling the Rose, our second largest asset after the school’s land itself, no idea is too radical.

So, in a clichéd attempt at a rallying cry, let’s put aside our pessimism and save our own school!


Author: Liza

I have to make lesson plans! No bio today!

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