Today, the Telegraph Herald reported
that Judge Monica Ackley has quashed Jason Price's subpoena. The article goes on to say that the University's attorney plans to file a motion regarding that ruling next week.
We were overjoyed to hear that Price is in the clear--at least for the time being.
One element of the article, however, has caught our interest: Kari Koch, president of the UD student government, was quoted as saying, "We don't feel that it's appropriate for a student government association to take a stand one way or another in regard to the case." Koch supports the SGA position by stating, "We have an incoming class of 470 students this year, and they are 470 students who don't know there is a lawsuit (pending) right now and don't know who Professor Jeffries is."
We vehemently disagree with the SGA's position on this matter. Many of the students who are or have been involved with this blog entered UD only years after the infamous "Transformation." During our time at UD we became increasingly aware of the fact that the administration's actions during those difficult years had a profound and ongoing effect on the campus. Witness, for example, the high turn-over rate of faculty members, the heavy reliance on contingent employees, the sudden "retirement" of such professors as Robert Miller, and, of course, the Jeffries ordeal. It might be objected that these cases or trends are all unrelated, but we are not convinced. Professor Miller, for example, was a staunch critic of the administration during certain stages of the Transformation; when the appropriate time came (only a few years ago), he was forced out of the University. In that case, there was a clear impact on students such as ourselves who came to UD well after the Transformation had become "old news".
The fact of the matter is that UD administrators seem to be creating a very odd work environment for faculty. And that surely has a profound impact on current and future students. These students should feel not only entitled, but obligated to take a stance on issues of such importance.
At most institutions of higher learning, the student government fulfills the role of advocate and voice of the students, and that typically entails government representatives passing opinions on university policies and becoming involved in university business. For example, the Indiana University Student Association's mission reads: "IUSA is a congregation of Indiana University students that work to protect student rights, enrich student life, and improve Indiana University. Students join together to voice common concerns, hopes, grievances, and most importantly, to take action to realize an even stronger University" (emphasis added).
In regards to UD, the important question isn't whether or not the students (new or returning) do, in fact, know or care about the Jeffries affair. The real question is, "ought they know?" We, of course, think the answer is a clear and resounding, "Yes." And to that end, the student government can serve an important role.
NOTE: We wanted to clarify one point that may be lurking in the back of our reader's minds: our criticisms of the University's administrators are not directed at the faculty at large. We have nothing but respect for many of the faculty members, and we think that one of the University's redeeming qualities is the fact that it has some very dedicated professors who go out of their way to meet student's needs.