Speaker quality still declines

Jen Steer

Last week, Stark campus hosted Anderson Cooper. This week, Kent State hosted Stacey Kole. Notice a difference?

This semester Kent State has had very few speakers that have caught the interest of students. Colleges across the country are allowing their campuses to become venues for cheap entertainment and Kent State has fallen victim to the trend. However, a Kent branch continues to bring high quality speakers to the school.

The Stark campus should write the hand book on “How to bring good speakers to your university.” With this year’s speakers including Ben Stein and Anderson Cooper, I actually found myself wishing I would have just lived at home in Canton and went to Stark campus. But why is a Kent branch able to get better speakers than the main campus?

I’m having trouble even remembering who has come to our campus this year, which can’t reflect very highly of this year’s programming calendar. There was the guy from “The West Wing,” whose name escapes me. Former beauty queen Stacey Kole spoke just this week, but the only reason I know her name is because of the ruckus over funding in the Undergraduate Student Senate.

Last year, Kent State brought in people who students wanted to see. Although Michael Moore created a lot of controversy, it got people talking. And isn’t that what speakers should do? Speakers should invoke thought and encourage college students to consider a new point of view. Despite the lack of academic value in comedian Dane Cook coming to campus, his appearance got students excited. There is even a Facebook group called “Bring Dane Cook to Kent State… Again.”

I’m not saying the speakers last year were perfect. Let’s not forget the two “Real World” cast members that came to campus. These C-list celebrities need to get over the fact that their 15 minutes of fame are over, and others need to realize that the people on reality shows are nothing special.

But since when did it become the responsibility of the university to entertain us? If I want to be entertained on a Thursday night, I’m not going to rely on the university to keep me amused. Speakers are supposed to teach students something or open up a dialogue for issues to be addressed, not give me a better alternative to playing drinking games and watching “Family Guy.”

As for organizations such as the All Campus Programming Board, show me and, more importantly, this university that you can get us excited about something. Ross Miltner, the current USS senator for community affairs, is running for executive director of USS and intends on getting better programming. But if he wins, it will take more than one person to make a change.

Student organizations that are in the position to make something happen continuously make promises that they can’t keep and pass these expectations on to the next group of officers.

So with this semester about half over, there is still enough time to bring some better speakers to the main campus and give students a reason to leave their dorm rooms.

Jen Steer is a sophomore broadcast news major and the assistant forum editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].