A little respect goes a long way

Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Sep. 20, 2011

When I went to a Staff Council meeting a few weeks ago, a person from facility services spoke about construction projects and parking. One thing he said stuck out to me.

Staff and faculty could renew their decals online and print out a temporary slip that was good for 10 days, the man said so they “wouldn’t have to stand in line with students.” It struck me as off at the time, but only later did I realize why.

He didn’t have to say it that way. He could have said staff and faculty could avoid the long lines that happen during the first week of school. He could have said the temporary slips provided faculty and staff with more flexibility in getting their new decals. Instead, he chose to say it was so staff and faculty wouldn’t have to stand with students.

This week another instance made me react in a similar fashion. The UAF Athletic Department decided to move their hockey coverage from KSUA to a local commercial station. But the department didn’t tell the students who run KSUA about the change until days before they signed a new contract.

It’s important to choose your words carefully. What we say and how, and when, we say it matters.

At Convocation this past week, Chancellor Rogers emphasized that the future of UAF needed to be determined by a conversation not convocation. I agree.

That conversation will never happen if students don’t take ownership of their education and their UAF experience. Going to class and going home is fine, but if that is the extent of your involvement, you don’t really have room to complain. There are many opportunities for students to be a part of the decision-making at UAF or at minimum add their opinion to the discussion.

It also won’t work when staff and faculty don’t even want to stand in line with students, let alone talk to them about things that directly involve them. Students are why you are here. Perhaps if you stood in line with us more often you might understand our concerns a little better. If you talked to us, you would find that we have ideas too. Instead of making decisions for us, we could work together and have results that suit the needs of both groups.

Students versus the administration and vice versa are cliché for a reason. However, clichés are often born of an unwillingness to change the status quo. What changes at UAF would we see by 2017 if that conversation Rogers spoke of actually happened?

Heather Bryant

The Sun Star

(907) 474-5078

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