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,

well, demands.

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

meeting" complaint.

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

marched then?

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

bad.

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.