The world, goes the aphorism, is run by those who show up. College students are a group notorious for not showing up. Whether from apathy or overloaded schedules, college students at the University of Minnesota are content to let others speak for them and to let their own voices go unheard.
Public regents meetings âÄî wherein a group of 12 well-off board members decide the direction of thousands of people with little to no debate âÄî are sparsely attended, as are forums like those on the recent CLA 2015 report. Students deserve to have their voices heard, but in order to do so, they must show that they care what the administration is doing.
Across the world, there have been examples of student activism recently: Students in California staged large demonstrations outside of regents meetings to protest tuition hikes of 40 percent over two years. Fifty-thousand students in London organized to protest the government tripling the maximum tuition rate. But these demonstrations happened after those in power had already exploited studentsâÄô historical indifference and apathy.
If students could show a consistent interest in affairs that affect them and force decision-makers to take student opinion into account, events wouldnâÄôt reach the boiling points that they have in London and California. We wouldnâÄôt have wealthy university presidents being appointed all but in secret, we wouldnâÄôt have administrators leaning so heavily on tuition for revenue and we would have more say in the direction of our University. But as long as students fail to assert their voices, those in power will continue to take advantage of what they view as apathetic and disengaged students.