Our View: It’s good to talk

Summary: Students are working together to address issues that concern them, and administrators are beginning to respond. We think it’s important for conversations to remain constructive and civil in order for progress to be made.

Last week, students and several university administrators got together to talk. Let that sink in for a moment. A group of students, primarily representatives from various minority groups on campus, hosted a student forum with invited administrators, who made an appearance, to address concerns they had with the university.

Those students, including two columnists from The Kent Stater, brought up several concerns. From encouraging increased funding to Pan-African and LGBT studies programs, to raising awareness about possible bias in the faculty tenure process, we think the students were constructive in their advocacy. And by inviting administrators who could potentially address the issues, they opened the door for further conversation.

Those administrators that made an appearance were also constructive in their receptiveness and response to the issues presented. We think it’s telling that Provost Todd Diacon and other administrators attended the forum. We know, and often take for granted, that administrators are busy individuals who unfortunately do not have time to attend student functions. But the provost attended and even agreed to meet in the future.

Events like Wednesday’s student forum should happen more often. We think that community meetings, where both sides have an opportunity to voice an opinion, are a constructive approach to progress. If concerns are not vocalized constructively by one party then the other cannot respond constructively. When the provost walked out, he said he had another meeting to attend; he had answered all questions presented to the best of his ability. And students clearly vocalized their frustrations in response.

We also think it’s important to respect both sides of the conversation, whether that’s advocating for issues that do or do not directly affect you, or not responding because you’re bound not to be a rule. It’s unfortunate that forums like this have to happen in the first place. Administrators should already be focused on students concerns and grievances. We think it’s important to remember that we cannot always have our way be the chosen path.