The consultants’ draft to the Blue Ribbon Committee was leaked and, as per MIT tradition, a flurry of e-mails filled our inboxes from concerned, upset, and protesting students.
Really? A protest? Let me try to explain to you why you should probably let this one go and concentrate on cooking your expensive, unhealthy meal.
First, this was just a consultant’s draft. The administration hasn’t done anything with it, and no one knows how they will receive it or if they will implement any of it at all. It’s just a draft — that’s all. Instead of protesting, maybe try conducting a similarly rigorous study of student opinion (and of all student opinions, not just those who agree with you), and submitting that alongside this one.
Protesting is probably the worst way to get the administration to listen to you. This isn’t the 60s. Creating an “us vs. them” image by using negative words and actions against the administration is heavily detracting from the respect you are hoping to get from them. Just try, for once, to give the administration some respect and, you never know, you might get it back!
Mr. Jessop, the UA President, in his e-mail to all undergraduates claimed that “the student voice is not being accounted for in the decision making process.” Really? From what I see, the consultants seem to have made their recommendations based on student surveys. That sounds like student voice to me. Sorry, the angry protests of the loudest few can’t possibly be a better representation of “student voice” than actual field research the consultants conducted.
Just think about your naivety in this situation. The administrators and consultants likely have been working on issues like this for years professionally. You, the protestor, were being spoon-fed by your mothers one or two years ago at home. Who probably has a better idea of what works on college campuses: the MIT student who has been living on his or her own for a few years or the professional who does it for a living? I’m going to go with the latter. Here’s an easier analogy: who do you let operate on you, the pre-med or the surgeon? Sure, the pre-med could give some helpful input, but chances are the surgeon has been around long enough to know exactly what he or she is doing.
MIT doesn’t have any binding obligation to take student opinion in any decisions that they make. MIT is a private university that really can do whatever they want within the limits of the law. However, the fact that they try to incorporate student opinion through these consultants should not be overlooked. The student input they do take is not a student right. In the end, the MIT experience is their product that you buy into. You can choose to stop buying into this product if you disagree with their decisions.
You once put your faith into MIT by deciding to come here over all the other schools in the country. Try putting your faith in them one more time. Maybe, just maybe, you will realize that the administration knows what they are doing.
Akash Chandawarkar is a member of the Class of 2009.