Attempts to Stifle Students’ Voice (Opinion)

The board meeting on March 23rd, 2016 goes differently than planned when the meeting, originally scheduled as an open meeting, was closed at the last minute. Student leaders showed up early to  the meeting, excited to share in the conversation about unionization, when they were met by several public safety officers. Officers first asked the students about the possibility of them carrying weapons (specifically guns), and attempted to stop the students from  reaching the front of Taube Hall (where board members, president, deans, and provosts gathered before the meeting). Students, confused by such aggressive measures, walked to the front parking lot anyway where they were told the meeting had been closed, and they would no longer be allowed to enter the building.

In response to such actions, student leaders began Facebooking, texting, and calling students to get their support in the parking lot of Taube. Soon, what started as a party of two grew into a group of almost 20 students holding signs and chanting in support of their faculty. Despite efforts to keep student voices from being heard, students gathered in the parking lot for the duration of the board meeting, and met board members as they exited from the meeting. Several board members approached students to show their support for student activism and creating better conditions for NDNU faculty.

The University’s President, Judith Greig, did come out and meet students in the parking lot, as an attempt to hear student voices [videos of which can be found online]. Students announced several concerns including, upholding NDNU Hallmarks and mission, honoring our faculty, quality of education, where tuition dollars are going, and how the Administration is going to address these concerns. As one of the students at the event on Wednesday, I must say it was unbelievable that a school founded on social activism would respond so aggressively towards students peacefully supporting their faculty. We can only hope that our voices will be better received in the future.

Author: Melinda Jones

Edited By: Johanna Anaya

Published By: Felicia Oakmon