Time for students to speak

Fight back.

Don't let them push you around.

Yes, this is the motto from that consumer watchdog show with David Horowitz.

And it's a darn good one.

That is what's happening with the university of late, and it's time to stand up and let your voice be heard.

With the announcement of department cuts came a whole new gaggle of issues. This is not simply about the journalism, statistics or physical education departments. The focus should now be on how an administration relates to its students.

Provost Paul Sypherd said in the Wildcat that the amount of student input in his decision was "virtually none."

That is disturbing. In a meeting with the Wildcat yesterday, Sypherd said that he interpreted the question, "How much student input was considered in your decision to eliminate the journalism department?" as in direct reference to the past few weeks, when he made his final decision.

Maybe that is true. But the issue still remains: student input is vital in every step of the process.

The University of Arizona is at a crossroads. We either commit to making this a thoughtful, educational place or stand back and let this turn into a place bent on the business of research dollars.

But as much as the administration should, in good conscience, make an effort to hear what students have to say about department cuts, they are not always going to. It may be the fair thing to do, but it is not always politically expedient. After all, if you know your goal ahead of time, why clutter the process with other opinions?

Students cannot let that happen. If no one wants to listen to us, then we must demand to be heard. This is not the time to slip into apathetic mode and pretend we don't care.

The "virtually none" quote says a lot about how much we're valued. I realize that this is a research-oriented, large public university. With over 35,000 students here, contact with everyone is probably not possible. But an effort must be made to survey students, especially in the affected departments.

But students, and faculty, cannot wait to be called upon. It might not happen. Instead, you have to do something to stop the progression of events, or at least air your ideas. While the thought crossed my mind, I wouldn't actually go egg Sypherd and President Manuel T. Pacheco's houses. It has its juvenile appeal, but instead I have to use what I have available to make my opinions heard.

Fortunately, for me that is fairly easy. I have an advantage, but that doesn't mean that I or the Wildcat should be the only voice. I think that by eliminating the journalism, statistics and physical education departments the administration would be selling itself and its students short.

What kind of university cuts an education department? Maybe it's just me, but I thought the love of learning and teaching ought to be encouraged, especially when there is a deficit of physical education teachers in Southern Arizona.

The journalism cut hits a little closer to home for me, partly because I'm a journalism major, and partly because I never liked gym class or math. But my dislike for the subjects does not mean that I should ignore their elimination.

Some of the letters the Wildcat has received have come from people not directly affected by the proposed cuts. It is wonderful that people from other areas are willing to speak up for the general institution.

If you want to make an impact, or at least be heard, you can call your state legislators, call the Arizona Board of Regents, call your parents, call alumni, write letters or exercise your right to protest.

This is not the time to be a slacker and watch the world go by. As a newspaper, the Wildcat can only do so much. We have some degree of influence with the Opinions page and editorials, but the rest is up to the readers.

If you're not happy with the way this process has unfolded, let someone know. It may seem useless, but putting up some sort of fight is better than being steam-rolled.

This is not the time to roll over and play dead.

Sarah Garrecht is Wildcat editor in chief and a journalism senior.

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