It isn’t always easy to acknowledge mistakes, and it isn’t easy to forgive them either.
So when prioritization left students and faculty alike reeling when sweeping cuts were made to programs in an effort to keep the university’s direction competitive with other schools, it was very important that administration was able to see where they had fallen short. They assured that steps would be taken to increase transparency and communication this semester.
And how quickly we forget.
Last fall, students were angry and hurt at the cuts made by prioritization. But now campus has settled back into its comfortable–albeit generally bitter–attitude.
The restructuring of programs and re-allocation of funds to new projects was seen as a positive by the administration, but their lack of conversation and transparency left students feeling abandoned and rejected as the programs or professors they relied on just before summer were now gone without an announcement or word from administration.
Administration regretted keeping students in the dark, and they promised to do more in the future to keep the campus involved about coming changes, and we as a student body cannot forget this.
As those involved in the process have done their part, it is time for us to do ours.
I just don’t mean letting go of any bitterness you may harbor, though that is also important. Our crucial role this semester is holding our administrators responsible to keeping students informed.
I am as guilty as anyone of going too hard in one direction: either forgiving and instantly forgetting or holding onto the anger and refusing to accept any good that may come. We cannot respond with skepticism or negligence: we must find a balance that encourages administration yet is not overly trusting.
If we receive another 16 weeks of radio silence, we must be ready to vocalize our concerns. If we trust them that the prioritization process is what is best for the future of Vanguard, then it is important they honor the commitment to keep students aware of upcoming changes.
Likely, our main concern must be not to forget. Or become lethargic. Or apathetic. We can’t forget why we care and wait for another mistake to be made before being upset all over again. Then the cycle keeps on going. Administration apologizes; we forget, not forgive. And then they don’t understand why students were so upset in the first place and may take future backlash less seriously.
This is not a simple task, but it can make all the difference. To be able to believe in your institution, that they want to and will correct mistakes they’ve made, but also to remember that it is us, the community, the tuition-payers, that need to hold them to their improvement. If we do not remember, we allow their assurances to have been empty promises meant to satiate us in the moment.
That benefits no one. So let’s remember. Let’s listen. Let’s expect.
Just as administration owes us updates and information, we owe them the attention and response that proves these matters are important to us and should not be forgotten.