If you don’t contribute…don’t complain….

Stop the press!!!! Dillard University students do not have washers, dryers, internet, adequate plumbing, places to park, telephones, access to all faculty and staff between the hours of 12pm-2pm, or a library, nor a place for students to gather for recreational purposes in between and after classes’ i.e. downstairs Kearny. However students do have to deal with little furry creatures running around their apartments, construction everywhere, loans that still haven’t been processed and refunds that haven’t been issued.

Dillard students are in an uproar because of the various setbacks due to Hurricane Katrina. Complaints have been voiced since September when we arrived after the summer break. “No washers, so I’m just gon’ wear dirty clothes huh?” “No internet, so I guess that means no homework for me, huh?” “No library, the prison system has a better library than we do!” Despite a number of minor and major inconveniences, students have still managed to maintain a positive attitude and sustain a semi “normal” campus life.

Before returning for the 2006/2007 school year, students were under the impression that their “gleaming white and spacious green” campus would be close to finished. Students were aware that there would be construction being completed while attending classes, however they were not aware they would be faced with incomplete residential units, roommate confusion, and a lack of internet, phone, cable and sufficient plumbing, and other amenities they assumed would be up and ready.

On Oct. 17 students protested around the flagpole because all residential units were not equipped with washers and dryers. In result the administration not only installed washers and dryers, but awarded students with free washing and drying facilities until Dec. 1. The student body was elated, however about 100 students protested. How can you complain, but then you are not around to make change? All the residential students were not concerned enough to come out and protest, but they all reaped the benefits of the protest, right? Yes, the protested affected change through 100 students’ voiced concerns, but imagine if a majority or if not all the residential and even off-campus students showed up. Our priorities lie, where?

” There is strength in numbers, and if we all work together as a team, we can be unstoppable,” Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children, an organization to stop child slavery once said. Many people believe that there is strength in numbers, but obviously not all Dillard students believe that. During the week of Dec. 4 through Dec 8, an angry student posted a flyer that addressed various concerns on campus. The flyer asked questions like “Is it acceptable for rats and other pest to run rampant in our apartments and dorms?” “Is it suitable for the labs to not have working internet access two consecutive days without notice?” The flyer also suggests students and parents complain to any faculty or staff member. In response to the flyer, members of the student government association (SGA) compiled a letter with a synopsis of the semester and actions taken by administration and SGA. The letter stated the issues the students had, the actions SGA has taken, and the administration’s actions.

In result of both letters, a town hall meeting was called with urgency. Ronnell Perry, vice president of SGA, and Dominique Hayes, president of SGA, met with administrators all day Dec. 7 to resolve some of the concerns students were facing on campus. At 8 pm a town hall meeting was held. The definition of a town hall meeting is “a meeting where an entire geographic area is invited to participate in a gathering, often for a political or administrative purpose. It may be to obtain community suggestions or feedback on public policies from government officials, or to cast legally binding votes on budgets and policy,” according to wikipedia.org. Dillard has a little over 1,000 students enrolled, 40 percent of which reside in campus housing, so at least 400 students should have attended the town hall meeting. Realistically, every student should have been there because all of them are affected by issues on campus, but more so the students who have constant issues, especially with housing. Less than half the general body attended the meeting, 20-30 people in fact attended, most of which were on the class councils.

For a student body who often voices its opinions and complaints with little or no hesitation, DU students were pretty quiet at the meeting, but that was probably because they were not in attendance. Going back to the definition of a town hall meeting, “…an entire geographic area is invited to participate in a gathering, often for a political or administrative purpose…” Well does the entirety of the student body consist of 30 people? Were all of the other 1000 students that preoccupied with preparing for final exams in January, or were each and every one of them preparing for the table decorating contest and the sing off? The lack of concern and the presence of the student body was appalling! So appalling it brought the SGA president who stated that she is usually not extremely emotional, to tears.

It’s quite ironic that a majority of the student body was not present to voice their concerns or ask questions, but still they manage to complain about every minute and major concern they have. It’s hilarious that when presented the opportunity to affect change, the student body is ever so lackadaisical. It’s quite hypocritical that the student body proclaims our administration does not care about us, however at the town hall meeting every seat on the panel was full. As a student I am not perfect by any means, nevertheless I realize that to see change you must create and stand for change. It is quite disappointing that the things we were promised were not given to us, it is disappointing that in some aspects Dillard has failed us as a student body to provide a college environment we are used to, but still they have done something right, they were there to listen to what we had to say.

Internet, cable and telephone were not provided to all residential units at our time of arrival and everyone still does not have access to it. When is it going to be provided and will we be reimbursed for the lack of services received? Some students may ask this question, well if at the town hall meeting they would have been informed that money will be credited back to our accounts at some point in time, or that eventually the bookstore would be housed in Henson, the first floor in Kearny is due to be open in January among important pieces of information that would be beneficial to them.

We all have been disappointed in some way shape or form by Dillard, whether it’s been a mistake that could or could not have been avoided. Despite the mishaps that occur on campus we are still all part of the DU family and for us to continue to better our campus and strive for excellence, it is essential to participate constructively. How can the administration be convinced that the student body is concerned about the amenities they lack if they don’t show up when given the opportunity to voice them? In the words of our SGA vice president, “If you don’t contribute, don’t complain.” Hopefully next semester the student body will be more socially conscious and contribute!