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In violating their own pledge to evaluate a continuation on President Randy Dunn’s contract a year prior to its expiration, the Board of Regents has succumbed to one of the more fashionable trends of the past decade: apathy. It would seem it doesn’t matter to the Regents that not making a decision on a University president could make a big difference in the lives of students. It’ll all be fine. Things will just work themselves out like they always do. No need to hold yourself to the standard you set for yourself only three years ago.
Of course, the Board of Regents is hardly the only body at Murray State University to have caught the apathy virus. What has the administration done lately for the average Murray State student? Spent a good chunk of change to bring a movie director to campus for a lecture that few of us will attend for anything other than extra credit? The failure of the administration to do much of anything in the way of student betterment is quite evident when we see our tuition climb every year. Why can’t the administration figure out what students need or what they even want from them?
But we shouldn’t go so easy on ourselves, either. The student body is the biggest victim of the apathy virus. Tuition goes up year after year, and no one says a damn thing about it. No protests, no refusals to pay, no letters to the editor or independent bids for student government – nothing. City stickers get crammed down our throats, and no one says a word. Nobody decides to run for city council, nobody gets the people who voted in the ordinance voted out – nothing. The only thing that seems to bother the student body these days is whether or not we’ll be able to get a beer at Burrito Shack.
Maybe we’re being too hard on everyone involved. Maybe the Board of Regents has legitimate reasons for not bringing up Dunn’s contract – and we’d love to hear them aired in a public forum. As long as we are denied the right to hear the concerns or comments by the board about Dunn, however, we stand by our judgment that the board really just doesn’t seem concerned about potentially losing our president to another school. Maybe Dunn and the administration really are doing as much as they can, and we, as students, just aren’t doing anything from there. Or maybe we as students just don’t have the time, the drive or energy to get anything done – maybe it’s all pointless and maybe apathy is just our way of expressing that. Hell, maybe it’s our fault at The News for not keeping you informed on what’s going on around campus and in our community. We’ll take the blame if you’d like to lay it at our feet.
But this “Things are too complicated and we just can’t do anything to change that,” attitude isn’t going to work anymore. Someone needs to be held accountable for the bullshit we all put up with on a day–to–day basis, whether it’s high tuition rates or being burdened with student loan debt for the rest of our lives.
This University is supposed to be the engine that transforms students from the high school educated into the professional, the average Joe into the doctors, the teachers, the lawyers, the presidents and executives of the future – and we’re going to settle for this? If the student body allows itself to be run over by the forces of apathy, it will be too late to do much of anything about tuition, or city stickers, or booze, or gay rights or gun rights or whatever it is that you care about on this campus.
The point we are trying to get across is that we don’t have to take it, and we don’t have to stand for it anymore. We have the power to shape how this University operates. We have the power to change how this city works. This is democracy, folks, and we have the ultimate say as taxpayers who fund this institution and pay its faculty and staff with our tuition dollars.
Tired of tuition going up every year? Get out on the Quad and protest. Get enough people to stop paying tuition for a month, and you’ll see some changes around here and around the country. Make your voice heard by writing a letter to the editor, or by “occupying” Randy Dunn’s front yard, or just stand with a megaphone in the Free Speech Zone and preach it. What’s important is that you do something. We’ll make sure you get the coverage you deserve. Anybody can take the time to vote in an SGA election on myGate and then go about their business for the next year – but that’s not how democracy works. Democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box. It is not something that can be tucked away, something that can be ignored or something that can be forgotten. If we are to truly have it, is something that must be lived. Democracy is a way of life and it’s time we had a lifestyle change on campus to reflect that.
The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.