Editorial: Does the relationship between staff and students need work?

The relationship between staff and students at the University is a complex one; students are expected to act as adults while being treated as less-than at times, and the staff expects a level of respect that isn’t always met by students. On top of this is the added complexity of the issue of transparency and communication between those who run the school and those who attend it.

Recently, over 300 students, staff, and faculty expressed their outrage with the University administration’s lack of a response to the 2016 presidential election results, where campaigns were waged largely on fear and hatred. Connections were drawn between the election cycle and the present campus climate, and signatories demanded the overhaul of certain cultural norms and expectations on campus to President John Bravman and Provost Barbara Altmann.

It is important for all students to note that without the incredible efforts of those working tirelessly behind the scenes, the University would not excel in the many areas that it does—that much should be obvious. Take five minutes out of your day to chat with any dean or member of the Office of the Provost so you can understand that they truly have students’ best interests in mind and are constantly working to ensure that the school runs smoothly. The University excels in academics, as well as fostering close relationships between faculty, students, staff, and any combination thereof. But a well-rounded liberal arts education does not stop at academic achievement, which is why it is imperative to examine the deficiencies of the University in all aspects.

It is equally important to understand that there are always shortcomings of even the most determined efforts for success; this much is true of any business enterprise, which is what the University is at the end of the day. It has to protect its reputation and its brand as much as it has to protect those that it houses, educates, and employs. That’s not to say that money should take precedence over humanity in an academic setting such as ours, but without one, you cannot have the other. Efforts to spur the administration toward inclusivity should not fall on deaf ears, but it will be up to the student body to ensure that their concerns are heard.

Like any organization or business, the University has much to be proud of. But it also has many tangible things to improve upon, not the least of which are several of the demands listed in the letter, including making people of all backgrounds and differences feel welcome on this campus. That is not an outrageous demand.

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