Yesterday some 20-25 students marched on Andy Holt Tower to protest cuts in
the African-American studies program.
They began the march at the Torchbearer and made their way up to the fifth
floor to meet with Chancellor Bill Snyder with the intention of making,
When they got there, Snyder was in a meeting. The group debated what to do.
So they actually made an appointment, for Wednesday. No demands were made.
They all left.
What a waste of time.
Here's what organizer Derek Black had to say about the failed march:
"Sometimes if they (administrators) know you're coming, they make it a
point not to be there."
Ah, but even if that is true (which is highly debatable, especially when it
is the chancellor), wouldn't it have been wise to make an appointment
anyway? Then if the administrator didn't show up, the group could come to
the Beacon with that information, rather than the old "he's in a
Basically, to go over there expecting to see the chancellor and make
demands is ludicrous, not to mention rude. How would you like it if some
rowdy group barged into your office questioning decisions that you probably
didn't even make?
We're all for the intent of these students. After all, they are fighting
for an important program in UT's repertoire of disciplines. What we are
against is the technique the students used.
There is a time and a place for large groups of students barging in and
making demands. This was not one of them.
We can't speak for any of the administration, faculty or staff of UT, but
we are almost positive that they are against any cuts in the
African-American Studies program, too. It's preaching to the choir.
Legislators in Tennessee are the ones who need to hear such complaints.
They are the ones who ultimately have the final say in funding, which
determines how much UT should cut. If it wasn't the African-American
studies program, it would be English or political science or dance.
Our question is this: if the dance program were the same size as
African-American Studies and faced the exact same cuts, would students have
Perhaps Snyder being in a meeting yesterday was the best thing that
could've happened. Now students have two days (the scheduled meeting will
be Wednesday afternoon) to sit back and ponder any questions or suggestions
they might have. It also affords them two days to calm down and handle the
situation in a calm, thoughtful and productive way. Administrators,
including Snyder, will surely respond in a more positive manner in a
nonconfrontational, positive atmosphere.
Uniting in a cause is good. Being rude is bad. Asking questions and
offering suggestions is good. Making demands is bad. Scheduling meetings is
good. Assuming they won't show up and thus not making an appointment is
So for the students set to meet with Snyder tomorrow, good luck. Just
remember that UT is in a financial crisis with not enough money to go
around. Cuts have to be made somewhere, and whether we like it or not, Arts
and Sciences will take a major blow. Letting UT and Snyder know that
students don't like this is OK, but barging in with such pressing
information is probably not the way to tell him.
Published: Tue Apr 20, 1999 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:50 p.m.