Message stunted by medium

A student group protest at this year’s Convocation put important points in disrepute.

Last Thursday, members of Students for a Democratic Society disrupted President Bob BruininksâÄô speech at first-year Convocation. In an attempt to bring attention to their campaign against the University administrationâÄôs financial policies, the demonstrators hung bold banners from the upper deck, honked obtrusive air horns and dropped fliers onto the laps of students and families chewing the inspirational cud administrators and other presenters were at work feeding them. While protest and dissent are essential to democratic progress, rude disruption and disregard for established ceremony are poor ways to win support for and raise awareness to a cause. While Students for a Democratic Society may legitimately disagree with the administrationâÄôs decision to lay off low-paid workers while they sustain in-full President Robert BruininksâÄô $730,000 annual compensation, there are more reasonable and effective ways to garner political support. Protest could have been more interactive and challenging if signs had been displayed in a public area of arena where the first-year students and family members traversing the Convocation would see them. ProtestorsâÄô choice to drop fliers and blow air horns during Convocation was disruptive and outright obnoxious. Unfortunately, Students for a Democratic Society turned a great number of people off to their pertinent message. The noise and arrogance of SDSâÄôs methods stunted any publicity such behavior attempted to establish. Attendees and others will likely mention that Convocation was disrupted, but omit by whom and to what end. There is a right way to protest and draw attention to a cause and a wrong way. SDS should have found a different way to stage their imperative protest.