To the Editor,
I wanted to comment on today’s walkout. And please note, this is just my opinion.
Today I saw the most useless display of energy I’ve ever seen on campus. Students were walking through the quads and halls, yelling and banging on walls and opening classroom doors to disrupt classes. All in the name of protesting and to what purpose? Supposedly to hurt the administration enough to make them realize we as students are tired of the furloughs, the tuition hikes, the lack of classes. But what are they really doing? Nothing effective.
To look at it from a practical point of view, they’re doing nothing but hurting the other students and teachers. First, we’ve already paid this semester’s fees. So disrupting our current classes does nothing to hurt the administration and a lot to hurt the student’s learning and GPA’s.
After all, we can’t hit the admin in the wallet if they already have our money.
Secondly, all the yelling and disruption only serves to irritate the students and teachers who are trying to learn or teach. It doesn’t win support for the cause. Rather, it lessens support for the cause by creating ill-will between those trying to learn and those protesting. Personally, my education is so important to me that I’ve already paid to learn and I resent anything that prevents me from getting what I’ve already paid for. We wouldn’t tolerate going to a restaurant and paying for food and having someone behind us throwing our food on the floor, but we’re supposed to tolerate fellow students doing the same basic thing with our education? I don’t think so.
Lastly, most attention admin is likely to give this protest is to increase police surveillance to prevent vandalism. They’re no more likely to pay REAL attention to a bunch of screaming students than the walls would. They’re there. Ok. So make sure they don’t break anything and let them go. And if they DO break anything, we can label them hooligans and vandals making them laughingstocks and criminals, not serious advocates for change.
So what can CSUN students and staff do to advocate change effectively? Petition, for one thing. Petition the governor, the President, state and federal representatives. And when one petition is done, do MORE. We pay these people to look out for our best interests. Threaten to remove your support if they DON’T look out for our best interests.
Stand behind what you say. Governor Schwarzeneggers email address can be linked at http://gov.ca.gov/interact, and his complaint line is 916-445-2841. I’ve used both of those before and at least recxeived a response. President Obama has a contact form you can fill out at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact and you can call the comment line at 202-456-1111. I’ve also used these numerous times. If enough of us write and protest on these phone and email lines, we’re bound to get some attention. But only if we protest responsibly, politely, and respectfully.
For another thing, VOTE. If we remove our votes from those who’ve put us in this position, and actively give our votes to those who will make the changes we need, we accomplish two things. One, we get rid of those who put us in this position and replace them with more effective representation. Two, we shake up those who have overlooked our needs for so long and scare them, through threat of moving them out of office and thereby removing their income, into taking us seriously.
And finally, media. Not just campus media, but local, state, and national media. Bombard the news corporations with information about what is going on. Impress upon them that we’re not just a bunch of screaming maniacs, but serious students and teachers striving for change. Tell them HOW we’re working towards change. Encourage outsiders to get involved in effective efforts for change. Keep them informed.
I’m not saying I don’t support the issues that we’re protesting. I do. Like every other student here, I am working hard towards my educational goals so that I can get a fulfilling and good-paying job. The system does steal from us when it raises our fees, cuts teacher hours, reduces classes and lays off teachers. But the protesters stole from us too. And I don’t support any type of protest that steals from the very ones it is purported to support.
Senior, Psychology major