Opinion: Be Bold KSU

Marvin Logan is a senior Pan-African Studies major. Contact him at mlogan6@kent.edu.

Marvin Logan is a senior Pan-African Studies major. Contact him at [email protected].

Marvin Logan

Recently, we have been branding #BeBoldKSU. But what does it mean to be bold? To be bold is to not hesitate or be fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff. It means to be courageous. It is to be a hero. Who of us is bold?

President Beverly Warren has called for us to be bold in moving on to be a better community. The students of Kent State have called for administrators, faculty, and their peers to do the same. Some have been courageous in the face of discrimination, prejudice, and mistreatment. I applaud their efforts. Dr. Molly Merryman courageously resigned from the LGBT Studies program in search of more support. Not only was she guaranteed support, but was asked to establish a center for the study of gender and sexuality. Many students dared to share their not-so-excellent experience with the community at Kent Talks. Students organized a forum and invited key administrators to share how discrimination has impacted their lives and challenged them to improve practices and policies to better the student experience.

Unfortunately, these many concerns have gone unattended. Our university has done a very poor job with transparency. It doesn’t sound good if I tell you I’m cold and you keep a jacket for me in your closet. It would be received much better if you just handed me the jacket, would it not? That’s what we’ve seen recently.

Some are privileged enough to either know the plans of our administrators or understand the interworking of the university to know there are people who work tirelessly to make things better for us. Our university has done a piss-poor job of sharing those things. Our university has also earned a penchant for being behind on times and responding really late to issues. In December, we had an emergency meeting on the state of student life on campus for black males. Then as we began Black History Month, we had a poorly advertised, scripted conversation/worship of civil rights giant Julian Bond. Finally, in April, after an entire year of students having a negative experience, we attempted to address race relations through Kent Talks.

Our university administrators tell us that Kent State is our home and that we are cared for, yet in practice, we continue to facilitate and demonstrate hypocrisies by poor response and lack of student consultation and input. What is most disturbing is that on Wednesday evening, when students held a forum to voice their concerns on marginalized students, well paid, highly trained professionals demonstrated one of the poorest portrayals of professionalism and concern. We are often taught when learning the “soft” or essential skills of punctuality and communication when conducting business with others, that communication is key. Communication can be verbal and non-verbal. The body language of some of these so-called professionals in the room was barbaric and shameful. Granted, the students’ approach was sometimes negative and aggressive; regardless, as a professional, you have a duty to uphold a standard. You have a responsibility to be, as we call it, bold. Where is your courage? Where is your commitment? Why are you here? Do the concerns of students matter? Is this a job or a career for you? Do you care about students? Will you answer these questions truthfully? As administrator, you have no excuse. Continue to challenge yourselves, and each other. I say that every week at the end of my column. It isn’t lip service. It isn’t to fill space. It is, indeed, a challenge. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say you’ve done it? That’s up to you. Accept the challenge KSU. Be bold.