Prior to the event, flyers coated the many walls on campus, and on Wednesday, February 13, the Student Government Association hosted a town hall meeting. Topics of discussion included campus safety, accommodations for international students, the upcoming Eddie G. Robinson museum, and the outrage inducing removal or relocation of plots in upcoming months.As an event held by students, designed to give young adults open access to the people in power, the audience was embarrassingly under populated.
Many faces from the preceding student organization meeting in the Favrot Student Union building crossed the street and warmed the seat cushions in Grambling Hall. About 70% of the seats remained vacant that night, as more emptied as time elapsed.
The undertones resounded clearly. If the administration or student representatives didn’t respond in an agreeable fashion, verbal melees would ensue.
Several students offered passionate rebuttals often with said representatives or faculty in mid-sentence, and others simply left. Students without association linkage were ostracized for having the audacity to comment during the discussion.
Campus safety was skimmed over with repetitive admonitions about allowing unauthorized students access to our rooms, trusting untrustworthy people and keeping insane amounts of cash in fairly obvious locations. We were instructed to lock our doors, talk to their roommates, ensure costly items and females were instructed not to jog alone after dark.
Questions flowed and numerous politically correct responses were given, while other responses intensified ideological and seemingly generational conflicts.
Plots were addressed last on the agenda, which seemed to rush conversation time for the preceding issues. Various students sat distantly gazing around the room, waiting until their issue arose for discussion.
Despite the oppositional viewpoints expressed blatantly at the meeting, a few lessons should have been learned: Students have to support meetings which affect the campus as a whole, rather than waiting until controversy arises and responding with verbal fight or flight. The most notable message to be heard from attending the meeting was that of communication.
While administration and students alike make mistakes and will continue to do so, students have to utilize their means of communication to the best of their ability. It is each student’s obligation to read the university Web site, question the proper people (respectfully) and follow all official procedures before resorting to extreme measures. It’s the administration’s obligation to truly listen to and attempt to compromise with the wants of the students. Without compromise, classrooms would be empty and others unemployed.
Many students weren’t aware that President Judson made himself available last semester with open office hours. He said that he saw about 10 students the entire semester, which led him to believe that his afternoons could be occupied more efficiently elsewhere.
When people in power make themselves available to us, we must take advantage of every opportunity to meet with them! They don’t have to be the oppressors while we are the oppressed. After all, we’ll maximize our experience at Grambling State University if we work with spirits of cooperation.