Students should move to remove Bruininks

We need a new president willing to fight for the students, not against them.

Shortly after finishing up an essay I planned to submit to the Daily calling for University President Bob Bruininks’ resignation, I opened up to the editorial page only to find out somebody beat me to it. Bravo!

Now that the idea is out in the open, it is time for the students to take direct action.

Much has been made by the critics of the General College Truth Movement that the University is not a democratic institution. While this is true, this is not an end to the argument, and hardly an argument in and of itself.

Even in an undemocratic institute such as the University, students have a right to at least expect that their leaders have the best interest of the student body in mind. When a leader turns on his people, his people are bound to turn on him.

In Bruininks’ dealings with General College, he has made it all too clear that he not only doesn’t have our best interest in mind, but also he isn’t particularly concerned with us.

Would we fault the people of a Third World country for rising up and forcing their corrupt leader out of office? I doubt it.

So what is our reason for sitting idle while Bruininks sells out a generation of would-be college students to corporate interests? I say it’s time to tell Bruininks that if he isn’t concerned for the youth of Minnesota’s education, it’s time to find a new job.

One of the most emotional moments of my life was when I was part of the encampment on Northrop Mall after the sit-in. There happened to be a group of kids from an elementary school in a poor area of Minneapolis. The name of the school escapes me now, but it was the first time most of them had ever been exposed to the idea of college. I doubt that many of their parents had gone to college. And I doubt that any of them had any real idea as to why there were 20 tents set up in the middle of the lawn. But that day, seeing those kids, the exact kids that would be robbed of an education under Bruininks’ plan, made this all too personal for me.

So it’s up to us to save this University for the students, present and future. Bruininks might be able to ignore a couple day, but he can’t ignore us if we are out there and using our voice every day.

We, the students, have a vast amount of power. There are tens of thousands of us, but only one University President Bruininks.

We have the advantage, because he is afraid of the power of the students. I witnessed this first-hand on the night of the sit-in, when he called in the University police to “deal with” the 200 or so of us gathered outside Morrill Hall to support the sit-in.

If 200 of us gathered outside his palace frightens him so much that he calls the police to suppress us, I have no doubt that 1,000 or more of us can scare him enough to make him run away from this university and never look back. Then, perhaps, we can have a new president willing to fight for the students, not against them.

Steven Gassman is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]