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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


Are You Having Trouble Hearing, Old Main?

I had the pleasure on Tuesday of stopping by the USAS/SLAP rally outside old main, while several people I know were part of the sit-in on the second floor of Old Main. Sweatshop labor and Workers’ Rights are tremendously complicated issues, and I strongly encourage all of you to do some research and try to form an opinion about it.

What’s really interesting for the purposes of this blog is how students can stand up, shout, write letters, release statements to the press, and more, shall I say ‘show-y’ acts (waffle-ball in Old Main, for instance. How simply “boneheaded” of them) and not get more than a nod of acknowledgment from the heads of Old Main. They make brief comments about the “importance of the issue” and how “Penn State worries about the ramifications of signing agreements.” Once, President Spanier wrote a long letter, in the end saying the same thing as the short notes and off-handed comments from the University spokespeople.

Even when the groups uses loudspeakers and chanted, Old Main doesn’t listen and respond, and these students aren’t happy about it. We’ve all heard that this is a student centered university. From where I stood yesterday, the students want the DSP signed. And, maybe even moreso, they want the administration to explain candidly why they won’t sign it. Rambling about anti-trust lawsuits sounds like an excuse. It probably is.

Dozens of other universities in the country have become guiders of the DSP. I doubt their presidents and administrators sat through rallies and wrote condescending letters for years.

What makes me suspicious that this is less about the DSP and more about how administration-centered this university can be is that this kind of thing has happened before.

For decades, Penn State struggled with minority enrollment and the issues of discrimination on and off campus. For decades student groups stood up and tried to get the administration to change. It rarely has. The issue I’m addressing here isn’t race or affirmative action – in fact, it is deliberate inaction.

The decades of student concerns being gently massaged away prove that the administration doesn’t want to move until someone threatens them with something they care deeply about: their wallets. Until that happens, we students seem to be attending an administration-centered university.

They can claim we have a student centered university until their faces are red and their lungs collapsed. I’ll believe it when I see it. I encourage you to do the same.

I especially liked some of the chants at the rally… they should mean something to everyone, regardless of cause:

  • “As the Owners of this university, we…”
  • “Who own this university? Graham Spanier? NO!
  • Whose university is this? OURS!”
  • Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

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Comments

Ah, Old Main took plenty of action the past two days. They had students arrested one day, than the other had them forcibly removed, without telling them what policy they were breaching or anything. This seems to be Graham Spaniers choice tactic:Ignore the students or have them forced off.

I propose a tactic he cannot ignore. We must rally every student in this University to assemble on the Old Main lawn in a dazzling display of Unity, and than take back Old Main. We must raise our voices and shout that this is our school and we will defend its honour until the very stones of Old Min crumble beneath the sound. We must make our voices heard by Administrators who are self centered liars and rogues, who drip and drizzle hypocrisy every time they dare to open their mouths. And than, when they realize that the students are a force to be reckoned with, we must gather the alumni of true hearts. This more than anything will strike fear into their hearts, for if we hit them where it hurts (the purse strings) They will be forced to listen. Money talks louder than anything else here, and the lack of it may talk loudest.

Or, we can keep on watching as the same shit happens every time students stand up for what is right and good. We can watch as Graham trods on our collective heads, complain a little bit and move on, pretending to be powerless so the duty and responsibility of taking action can be passed from our own heads.

(Steps off soapbox)

holy heck.

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