We have town hall meetings, forums, and MiscMarket bulletins for the purpose of airing thoughts about campus controversies. Still, sometimes campus issues aren’t voiced at all. We think this is inadequate.
Students need a medium where their concerns can be addressed, discussed, and responded to by the community. We need to be able to talk about the type of environment we want Carnegie Mellon to be, our concept of diversity, and what distracts us from our goal to learn.
This past Tuesday, we held an open meeting to discuss these issues. We’d like to thank all the students who participated. Students are interested in building community and debating the difficult issues. They want to make sure that each voice is heard every time a controversy occurs. The students at the meeting on Tuesday came up with several good points, which we will work on incorporating into a policy.
The students’ suggestions will form the base structure for a new conversation medium. We’d like to outline some points that students felt were particularly relevant.
First of all, we should get together to discuss campus values in a public place. Anyone walking by should be able to hear what’s going on and join in. Meetings should happen about three or four times a year: frequently enough that they’re expected, but not so often that they become a chore.
There should also be an online component. Some students are more comfortable online, while others are more comfortable speaking verbally.
We should have mediators in the public conversations who can bring out the reasons why students make the statements they make. What values are being challenged, or are causing the debate? Mediators could make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, and that arguments are fully fleshed out and understandable.
Finally, a statement should be generated from each conversation that will be released to the campus community. It should highlight the points of the discussion where there were agreements and disagreements. The statement could perhaps also include suggestions that were generated during the discussion of how to move forward as a community.
This is our school. Let’s talk together about the kind of campus we want it to be.
If you also have thoughts on this issue, please email sbp@ or sbvp@ or visit karlandrea.com, and click “Contact us.”