Complaining less effective than genuine outreach when dealing with administrative conflicts, campus-wide issues

0
529
COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

Last semester, I arrived on campus only to find that Sadler had made many bizarre changes, mainly shrinking the plate sizes, and changing up the locations of food stations.

As upsetting as the tiny plates are, I have managed to survive, but I was hoping that at least this time when I returned to campus there would be no more seemingly random changes.
However, Sadler’s changing of the light side seating was only the beginning of the seemingly chaotic changes announced within the first few days of classes. Asides from The Caf’s much maligned wall color change, Residence Life flooded students’ emails with announcements about upcoming housing changes.

Ultimately, there is little I can add to the conversation regarding these changes individually. However, these changes illustrate what seems to be a consistent problem at the school: lack of communication between students and administration.

To be honest, as a student it is easy to categorize the entirety of the administration as an unknowable “they.” “They” are out to get us. “They” just want our money, and “they” don’t really care about the student body.

But I think this categorization of the administration as some sort of untouchable “they” is in part what is causing much of this gap in communication. It is an easy trap to fall into, that of giving people in power more power unintentionally. But when we, the student body, refuse to engage with our administration as people, but rather put the people working in positions of power at the school in one group as “they,” we lose more than we think.

I am in no way saying our administration is perfect, because of course it isn’t. As much as I love the College of William and Mary, it is incredibly important to recognize that our school is in many ways flawed, and sometimes the people in power do little to make it better.

But I don’t think it is particularly helpful for me, or any student, to simply bash the administration by saying “they” are all terrible, and don’t care for the College’s students because it is ultimately untrue.

Our school’s administration is made up of people who choose to be here. Certainly, some are disconnected from what it is like to be a student in college today, and overall the people within the administration, while trying their hardest, are far from perfect.

Regardless, the administration is made up of people and when changes are made that seem abrupt, these changes have probably been subjected to a great deal of thought for a long time. The adminstration also can only know about the issues that students tell them about, and I’m pretty sure the adminstration isn’t reading Swampy Memes.

But, as students who are upset by these seemingly abrupt and random changes, I think we ought to exercise the self-determination that was preached to us during freshman orientation. While certainly communicating with the administration won’t fix everything, it is a very good place to start.

This is a call to me just as much as it is to any of you, but we ought to take advantage of the fact that the people in power here are just that: people who we can actually talk to. As much as we complain about a change, there will be no meaningful benefit without communication.

Email Anna Boustany at aeboustany@email.wm.edu.