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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

To the Point with Michael Hogan

Censorship, lack of communication, accountability, inadequate accessibility for the handicap, these are some of the issues that were brought up here on campus fourteen days ago at a student organized and initiated rally. Organizers estimate that some seventy plus students and faculty showed up to march in camaraderie and have their voices heard on these and other issues.The centerpiece of this march and rally was a banner that read “Student Centered? Prove It,” a phrase that has come to be a sort of battle cry for those students who were involved in organizing and running the rally. This is a call to the university administration to demonstrate their concern for the students they are meant to serve.This rally and march, while including a number of other issues, was sparked by the perceived censorship of a few student events by the administration. Basically, students want more say in the programs and events that they present through their groups, organizations, and centers.I totally agree that events and programs at UMB that are geared for the student body should most definitely be decided by that student body, but what I don’t agree with is the idea that this group of seventy something students is in some way a fair representation of the UMB student body. A mere seventy students does not constitute even 1% of the student body as a whole.I say, if you want to be the voice of the student body, then do it. But, do it by asking the students what they think. Poll the entire campus rather than just assuming that everyone feels the same way you do. Likely, the majority of the student body would agree that tuition and fees are too high and should be lowered.But, we cannot say that is the community view until we have asked them. For all that we know the majority of this school wouldn’t want a BDSM conference on their campus or an art exhibition that includes mammogram images. We simply do not know that until we have asked them.As far as I am concerned personally, I have no problem with events like these being held here on campus. I think that we are a place of education and that we should educate our students in all aspects of modern society. But, I also do not purport to be the voice of the people here at UMB. I, as a single student, am but a mere fraction of the tens of thousands of students that attend school here.So, I think until you have the majority of the student body behind you, that means thousands of students, not dozens, you cannot call yourself the student voice. It is egotistical and irresponsible to call yourself the voice of the people without actually looking into what those people think. I say, ask us all what we think. Send out a poll, find out what the united view of this campus really is. Don’t just assume that everyone in your class feels the same way that you and your friends feel because it is very likely that there are quite a few who do not. Just ask, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.Really what it comes down to is something that, at times, seems to be somewhat of a plague here on campus, a lack of communication. The lines of communication all across campus seem to be severed at the most inopportune times.Communication issues are key here at UMass. Earlier this semester Student Affairs was informed at the last minute that the former Wit’s End was to be transformed into a smaller student space as well as a hallway to accommodate traffic to the new VDC (Venture Development Center) that will be located in the old Wheatley Cafeteria. Student Affairs had already reserved the space during the semester for a number of student events to take place there. The loss of the Wit’s End space and the subsequent need to relocate student events this semester by the Student Affairs staff was a direct result of the lack of communication between the Student Affairs administration and the administration in the Facilities Department.The confusion and cancellation of both the Annie Sprinkle exhibition in the Harbor Art Gallery and the BDSM conference that was jointly sponsored by the Queer Student Center and the Wellness Center are both directly linked to the lack of communication here on campus. Both of these events were canceled at the last minute, one officially the other through silence.Communication is a fundamental problem here on campus and needs to be addressed in order to bring about any real change. Proper communication, between the students and the administration, as well as between the students themselves, is essential to uniting students to make change. The bigger the numbers, the more significant the call for change. So, consider this column a call to student leaders here at UMB to open the lines of communication to all students and to gather the opinions of all students when seeking to represent all of the students here at the university.

About the Contributor
Michael Hogan served as the following positions at The Mass Media for the following years: Editor-in-Chief: Spring 2008; Fall 2008 Arts Editor: Spring 2007; Fall 2007