The University of La Verne has been filled with the spirit of protest throughout April, when a sit-in protest to the tearing down of Ben Hines Field on April 12 brought students and faculty together for a cause that mattered. Students have also begun to protest the housing department’s decision to make dorms available on a first-come, first served basis. With plans to increase traditional undergraduate tuition for the 2011-2012 academic school year by 5 percent, more student protests are sure to come.
As strong believers in the freedom of speech, we support the concept of protesting and the changes a protest can bring. Yet we cannot help but wonder if the administration, which should be attuned to the needs and desires of the students, will heed our cries for change.
Our peaceful but serious attempts to get the attention of University administrators have yet to bring change. Plans to tear down Ben Hines Field are still intact, and due to begin Sunday, – and there are still current students without a guaranteed place to live next fall.
The lack of acknowledgement from the University administration has us rather concerned. We are a small, private university that prides itself on its intimate connection with its students, yet the concerns we have expressed regarding the future of La Verne have not been recognized and our demands have not been met.
Students at Purdue University in Indiana were outraged when the university revealed a new design of its mascot, Purdue Pete, on April 9. The design, which was supposed to make Purdue Pete more family-friendly, was deemed a tacky, cartoonish imitation. Purdue students created petitions and flooded the school newspaper, administration and athletic department with letters demanding a redesign or the return of the original Purdue Pete. The athletic department has since said that improvements will have to be made to the new design and is encouraging students to contribute their opinions.
Student protests for educational reform have caused universities in Germany, Egypt and Britain to reconsider their policies and consider what the students want.
If other larger universities can take the time to listen to student concerns, whether they are about a new mascot design or complete educational reform, then La Verne should as well. The University advertises itself as an institution that facilitates close bonds between students and faculty. ULV should aim to create those strong bonds between its students and administration as well, and take the students seriously when they protest.
We are asking our administration to develop a proactive relationship with the student body and become attuned to what it wants and needs rather than encouraging them to reconsider their protests.
Apparently the freedom of speech that we students exercise has gone to waste because of our administration. They should be doing things for the good of those who inhabit the campus, not the good of their paycheck.