It is my pleasure to present to you the very rare, fabled two-page opinion section. In my five years at The Medium I have seen it only twice, and then only to present candidates (and their rather long platforms) in the UTMSU elections.
Given the amount of feedback I have received on such a wide range of issues, I must conclude that people do, in fact, have opinions on what goes down at UTM, despite what you may have heard. Apathy is so 2011.
Fun and games aside, I am pleased that the ECC debacle has sparked a sort of informal debate. Whichever party is right or wrong, it certainly seems as though these letters have afforded them the opportunity to blow off some steam in the process. Which is a good thing, in my opinion.
That’s because behind the surface, past the gridlock, the calling out, and the highly opinionated stances, these letters prove, in some small way at least, that democracy is in effect at our campus.
Let me clarify.
People don’t all agree on the same issues. Shocking, right? Well, it should be, considering students’ take on what happens in the politicized governance process. I admit I’m often guilty of assuming that others share my opinion, as long as they’re rational human beings. Which is a pretty big step, considering my opinion gets shared thousands of times every week throughout the university. When there are things I disagree with, especially in regards to the institutional process (both student and administrative), I’m vocal about it.
I find that others tend to be the same way. We all think that there are simple, logical solutions to our governance woes and, while us student folk all agree on what to do, our representatives (administration or otherwise) take pleasure in drawing out the process, making it as painful as possible.
Say the tables were turned. Say we had some sort of direct democratic influence on the process. I’ve heard from several student leaders that students are “the university’s largest stakeholders” (fun fact: we’re not), so there shouldn’t be a problem voting in smart changes. Populism would take precedence and voila, our problems, such as the ECC dispute, would be solved.
But that just isn’t the case. In reality there are as many opinions as students. Here, in The Medium’s office, I count seven different views on who’s in the wrong in the ECC matter. In fact, after asking what they thought, it turned into a debate of our own.
Disagreements are key to a democratic process, as are voicing those disagreements to the public. It shows that things are working—that different opinions still make it to the forefront. And when I think about it, if there weren’t disagreements I would be worried.
Michael Di Leo