Mind your own business

By Brianna Wellen

Columbia’s part-time faculty union, P-Fac, has been airing its grievances to anyone who would listen since I’ve been a part of the student body. The group has been collecting support from students and other faculty and staff, and recently, through joining Occupy Columbia protests, a group known as C.A.C.H.E., the Coalition Against the Corporatization of Higher Education. Bringing this group into the mix resulted in a bombardment of top administration at their offices on the fifth floor of the Alexandroff Campus Center, 600 S. Michigan Ave., on Dec. 7.

As a result of this stunt, P-Fac and other members of Occupy Columbia got what they wanted—an open town hall meeting with the administration. However, when it came down to the gritty negotiation to set this meeting up, the loudest and most passionate advocates weren’t P-Fac members or Columbia students at all. In fact, they aren’t even part of Columbia. In video recorded accounts of the event, the two students who were most vocal and continually invaded Interim Provost Louise Love’s personal space were a student from Northwestern University and a student from DePaul University.

While I will always support students getting involved with issues such as these and demanding transparency from the administration, I’d rather the students do so for their own schools.

There are a few problems with these outside people stepping in. First and foremost, they are not directly affected by these issues. They may be experiencing similar things at their schools or have strong opinions about what’s going on at Columbia, but without being part of the school every day, there’s no way they can fully understand what’s happening. Without complete comprehension, they should not be the spokespeople for the collective wants and needs of those at Columbia.

The overwhelming presence of these outside protesters can’t help bring to mind the students who actually go to Columbia. Where were they during this standoff? Why didn’t they have the same amount of passion instead of letting outsiders take charge of the situation? Allowing other students to have the strongest voice in such an issue makes Columbia students look lazy and apathetic.

Along with having no place being involved in the issue, the students in question were not rationally responding to Love’s reasonable requests. She was willing to give them her time then and there; they refused. She told them the proper way to set up the meeting; they continued to annoy her. Yes, they will see this as a victory because the Dec. 9 town hall meeting did take place, but they should not feel proud of their actions leading up to the result.

The negotiations and grievances between P-Fac and the administration is a Columbia issue and should be contained within the Columbia community. This means P-Fac needs to stop enlisting support from the Occupy Chicago movement. In turn, Columbia students need to become more aware of issues affecting them every day and take a stand before someone else does it for them.