Why not change the world—starting here

I try to see the good in everyone. However, Dr. Ross and all the other members of the administration who were involved in the decision of introducing the position of executive director of student activities acted completely without respect for the students at RPI. These people who have been chosen to lead the Institute forward have completely forgotten the people they are trying to move forward for.

We are the students of RPI. We are not children. We are not spoiled brats who you allow to govern our Union. You gave us no power to do so. We did. We are not simply paying customers. We are every single student who goes here.

How could you, the administration, dare to forget that we are also human? We deserve and expect the respect that you give your colleagues here at RPI. We will not accept being talked down to. We will not accept blown-off questions and demeaning answers. We are adults, just like you. We have the right to make decisions, just like you. And we demand to have input on decisions that affect us, just like you would.

Before you dismiss me as just another one of those kids who doesn’t know what they’re talking about–one of those kids who isn’t a student life professional, so what could I possibly have to contribute to the creation of new positions under the department–before you close this newspaper, or click back on your browser, know this: I am the person you are trying to help. I am the reason you are here to do what you do.

Without me, there is no one to engage in excited chatter between classes. Without me, there is no one to fill the chairs in the classrooms. Without me, there are empty multi-million dollar research facilities, cultivating not learning but dust and filth. Please do not be so naive as to forget why you are here.

Maybe you’re here to try and make a difference at an institute whose goal is to change the world. Maybe you’re here because you want to teach students to learn about all the amazing things that you see, or bring your passions or ideas to the school. Maybe you’re just here to make money.

Nevertheless, you are a part of this school. You are here for students no matter what department you are in. We are not a part of the administration, but we do have one thing that sets us apart from the rest–something you are quite proud of yourselves and constantly is remarked upon as unique and important to student life: the Rensselaer Union.

To many, such as myself, it is another home. We know it best, its nooks and crannies. We know how all the cogs mesh together and we know when something jams it. The new position is a complete infringement on all we hold dear.

This isn’t baseball. As students, we’ve given the administration second chances, and we’ve given them third chances. It’s about time they struck out. This is not acceptable. This should not be happening. You are trying to take my home and I will not stand for it.

I know that many students are afraid of speaking out as retaliation may be swift and fierce. To those who are afraid as a result of the culture of fear that has been festering for several years, I am here to be your voice if you, yourself, are too afraid. I, too, want to graduate from this well-known institution. Since when has it been acceptable that an institute of this caliber is so oppressive to the student voice? Why should we tolerate an administration that will not listen to the most qualified people, the students, to give them feedback? Our motto is “Why not change the world?” For students, RPI is our world in the time we are here. We should not be dissuaded from trying to change it; there is no time like the present.