Giving students the runaround

The University administration benefits from students not caring about realignment.

Last week the Daily reported that students simply are not getting the message about what the University’s realignment is about, nor do they know why they should care.

The truth is students are right to not care about the University’s plan. The University’s actions, which have been widely reported, clearly show that the University administration only wants to give the appearance of student participation and that the decisions regarding the plans were made long before any so-called “public debate.”

A student support task force leader was quoted as saying that one possibility why students did not participate during the 45-day commentary period ” which occurred during finals week, the winter break and the beginning of spring semester ” was because of the strategies used to reach them. The strategy used was exactly what the University administration wanted ” the least student participation possible and the furthest thing from a robust debate. Still, the University administration defends its methods, stating it tried to increase student participation by sending us “scores and scores” of e-mails. What about that statement isn’t laughable? It is no secret that verbose administration e-mails are deleted just as quickly as any other junk mail.

The University reported that 23 percent of the 270 responses received during the commentary period were from students. Using simple arithmetic that means 62 students participated in the “debate.” Sixty-two students out of 51,175. In light of this lack of participation, one can come to only one conclusion: The University places no value in student opinion, and the decisions surrounding the realignment already have been made.

The Daily editorial board already has stated that the University administration repeatedly has failed at presenting information surrounding the realignment in a sincere and truthful way to students and the entire state of Minnesota. One way to get rid of apathy and to increase participation is to provide an environment that fosters trust. The University’s reaction to the “apathy” of students is another example of how dishonest the entire process has been.