Student letters in the Daily Campus

Andy Hemming, student and head of the SMU Chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas, has raised the complaint that “[t]he student body as a whole feels ignored; the faculty is going off on their own.” While his own arguments have indeed achieved wide circulation — in a nationally distributed AP report, other media interviews, and on this blog — I do agree with my fellow student that most student voices generally have been unheard in this debate.

Of course, the faculty have their own concerns that may or may not overlap with those of students and alumni. I’m not sure why Mr. Hemming feels the need to attack the faculty for its attempt to pursue its legitimate objections, while he has made no public criticism of the university administration’s failure to provide any mechanism whatsoever for student and alumni input (unlike this blog and the various petitions).

Many alumni have voiced their rejection of the proposal, as documented in several places. As for the students, two recent letters to the student newspaper expressed some of their frustrations. Leah Bray asks, “We didn’t get an assembly to voice our concerns or comments, and there was no suggestion box placed at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center for students to use. So where were we when all the decisions were made?” Another student, Bill Meehan, makes a related point in an opinion piece, “A simple vote could put the library debate to rest.”

One Response to Student letters in the Daily Campus

  1. I for one am thrilled that the students have decided to weigh in on this debate. I’m not always thrilled with the passive aggressive tone of some of their remarks, nor the tendency to attack faculty members by questioning their motives, but some of the contributions to the campus discussion have been excellent (Meehan’s piece stands out in my opinion). I don’t, however, understand the complaint that the students are being ignored. It’s not as if the faculty should speak for the students. That’s their job.

    This remark is puzzling, “the student body as a whole feels ignored; the faculty is going off on their own”. Offering reasons for opposing the proposal seems like an invitation to debate, not an attempt to silence students. I’m also puzzled as to why Hemming is criticizing the faculty when, as you note, they’re not the ones responsible for the fact that students and alumni don’t have a voice here. It also strikes me as somewhat hypocritical to criticize the faculty since the Young Conservatives haven’t tried to give the students a voice in this debate. Circulating a petition that only takes account of one side of the debate isn’t giving the student body a voice in the debate at all. Nor is it an attempt at gauging student opinion. Nor is it an attempt at gathering student ideas. It is an attempt to try to create the appearance that the students are unified in their support for the library and institute, which is a rather transparent partisan ploy.

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