Forum

SAY WHAT? by Joe Arasin

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In his speech on Martin Luther King Day, CMU student Thomas Oliver criticized students because we do not stand up and take action even when we know it is the right thing to do. We have no difficulty noticing problems, but when it comes time to form a plan or take action, everyone quietly steps back, waiting for someone else to take initiative.
Students at Carnegie Mellon like to complain. Whether discussing dining, coursework, or tuition, nobody seems to be happy with the way things are, and everybody likes to blame the administration. In some cases, this discontent is well grounded. Even when there is agreement between students and administrators, it takes far too long for anyone to act. For example, Muslim students still have no proper designated place to pray on campus.

However, student inaction is equally responsible for many problems on campus. Several student advisory councils have folded, and the staffing problems on the Activities Board have led to accusations of unfair bias. Student apathy sets a very poor example for the administration to follow. Students have not demanded increased efforts toward a more diverse campus in response to the Diversity Advisory Council annual report. Students have not made serious attempts to bridge the divisions that still separate artists from engineers, graduate students from undergraduates, Greeks from non-Greeks, and American students from international.
As a member of Student Senate, I must say that last semester, we were not as proactive as we should have been. Senate has spent far too much time waiting for issues to arise rather than actively seeking student input. Solutions either stagnate in Senate committees or stall within some level of the administration. Student government and the administration need to work together to devise a more efficient way of doing business.
Even if this is achieved, my fellow Senators and I still cannot do everything ourselves. If you see something that needs to be done, take the initiative. Follow your passions to make this campus what you want it to be. We may not be able to solve every problem, but surely we can accomplish much more if we all realize our passions.
English philosopher Herbert Spencer wrote, ?The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.? Our time at Carnegie Mellon is not just a quest for raw facts and skills. It is an opportunity to listen to Oliver?s speech and stand up. Student government and the administration need to set a good example, but the rest of the campus needs to follow. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. If you do not know how to proceed, talk to your Senators or Dean Murphy. If we all do our part, we can make this great institution even better.