Institutional thievery

The Emerald City

After having been censored on, I was instructed to post my craziness on Table Talk, our intra-campus discussion forum. So, I did, and with mixed results. Many students agreed with me, and a few disagreed. Anyways, here's what I had put…

Let me preface this post by saying that I'm glad to have Jeff Greenway as our new president, and that I thought the Steelers tailgate party was a lot of fun. That being said, I think that there is something wrong with the upcoming teach-in.

When I first heard about it, I was actually interested and was looking forward to going, as several of my favorite professors will be speaking. I use "was" - the past-tense, because as soon as I found out that attendance of the teach-in is "mandatory" it became yet another legalistic drudgery, and not something done of free will.

The way I see it is this: If this event is really going to be all it's cracked up to be, making attendance mandatory should not be necessary. The event should "sell itself" so to speak. If not, then what is the point in canceling classes? Making it mandatory/obligatory, or whatever they're calling it, sends this message:

  1. We don't want this to be an embarrassment, so we're forcing people to go, in order to avert a potential no-show of the student body.

  2. We don't trust our students to use sound judgment and realize that this is event could be beneficial. We want to think for them.

Forgive me if you think differently, but I think that we are (or at least should be) past the freshman orientation stage of life. This is a graduate school for crying out loud. Many of the students here are second career, grown-ups, who know better than the administration if the drive to Wilmore is worth their time, especially when the class they paid to attend isn't even in session.

The more we try to manufacture community, the more we stifle the Holy Spirit, and put up roadblocks to true revival. Ideally, one of the following will happen:

  1. We would be reimbursed for the classes that are cancelled.

  2. We would get an apology from the person who had the bright idea to make this mandatory.

  3. This critique would be taken to heart, and students would start to be treated as if they have a voice.

For one of my classes, the professor has missed five (5) total class sessions this semester, and because of this teach-in, we will go yet another day without the professor to lecture on our class material. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure that the teach-in topics will be good, applicable, and quite possibly life changing. I just wish it did not have to interfere with graded curriculum.

Surely some of you are thinking, "Relax, lighten up, it is for the presidential inauguration. This does not happen everyday." To that I would say, bravo, correct. I'm just hoping that my rebuke of the powers that be will make sure this teach-in is an anomaly and not a precedent for repetition in the future.

As much as I'd like to organize a campus walk-out to coincide with the timing of the teach-in, I am a realist. I, like many of you, will probably go to the teach-in, albeit begrudgingly. Let's face it, we all want to graduate, and failure to cooperate could result in having to spend more time at cemetery. I just hope that those who planned it don't congratulate themselves too much on the student turnout, when all they have managed to conjure up is a captive audience.