Friday, October 19, 2007
All he could tell me was that the University reported this concern to his boss.
I didn't realize things could get this juvenile, that they are attempting some sort of retaliation after we exercise our freedom of speech and speak out against administration tactics.
The action they took only further validates our argument, and reveals their tactics in their true light.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
We want you to write:
-stories from your experiences with the administration
-thought on the current state of affairs at NU
-suggestions for improvement
-comments about the blog
-anything else concerning Northwestern
Overcome complacency and get involved in the fight to secure freedom for yourself and your community.
Do you feel like your rights have been violated by the NUPD or EPD?
Do you feel like you have been treated harshly or unfairly by those in power?
Post your story in the comments section.
This is ammunition for our fight.
Voice your opinion.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
that's when it begins to go downhill. I am starting to see it all
around me. Unchecked power. No accountability. Lack of transparency.
The only way to combat this is through action. One action isn't
enough. One flutter of the pulse or cringe of the brow or shred of
understanding will not effect change. Concepts of freedom need to
pervade the student body. We need a forum to discuss these issues and
a collaborative tool to catalyze real change at this school.
Sometimes people, businesses, governments and even universities lose
their way. They forget about the ideals upon which they were founded.
They forget about the people they are supposed to support and their
reason for existence.
Sometimes they need a reminder. People to stand up for their rights.
Raise their voice. Act.
Now is that time.
This is the first step towards a declaration of students' rights and a
self-authored statement condemning the state of student affairs at NU.
Our grievances do not lie with academia, but rather with the
administrators who are patronizing, disingenuous and militant towards
the student body.
The following is a working list of grievances. Please submit your own
grievances to our Web site, freenorthwestern.blogspot.com, and we'll
use them to create a declaration of student freedom and eventually a
self-chartered student bill of rights.
1) NU is an institution of learning. This includes social and moral
growth, not just intellectual growth. Social and moral learning needs
to come from within, rather than imposed through outward pressure.
2) The administration should remember that they were once in college
as well. Allow us the right of responsible self-governance that you
once had in your college experience.
3) Secrecy should be removed from all judicial hearings. Archaic
practices need to be revised and opened up. UHAS is a flawed system.
The student handbook implores conciliation instead of resolving
matters in a hearing. Conciliation implies guilt without the chance to
prove innocence. In a free and open society, why are members and
findings kept secret? How many appeals have been successful in UHAS'
4) The double standard of the NUPD should be eliminated. They enforce
petty citations against NU students throughout Evanston and stress
crime prevention, but if an actual crime is committed against
off-campus students, it is outside their jurisdiction.
5) NU believes it is above federal and state law. If an issue is
dismissed by NUPD or EPD, what right does the school have to mete our
punishment when authorities have concluded that nothing occurred?
6) The bureaucracy of NU is not infallible. Question authority when it
becomes oppressive. Reexamine where you are directing the independent
thinking you are supposedly learning to do.
Unlike many of our current administrative policies, these ideas are
open for negotiation. And right now, they are just ideas. Without the
student body recognizing them or questioning them, they have no power.
We can reform things we feel are unjust in the world around us, but
the powers that be have neglected to inform us of our rights.
Free Northwestern is a debate forum, intellectual movement and
instrument of student-led change. Controversy has shrouded the
interaction between the Northwestern administration and the student
body. While Northwestern exists as a private institution, infringement
on student freedom is a topic that must be addressed. I hope that this
can be a means to student empowerment in all forms, and a catalyst
Monday, October 15, 2007
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right." Thomas Paine's introduction to Common Sense reveals the administrations favorite tactic. They want you to think that their rules are unquestionable and that they exist to rule us, not to serve us. They achieve this goal using fear of punishment, whether its by soiling your transcript or sending you to Student Affairs, the Dean, or the secretive UHAS panel. When you forget you hold the power, you start to think solely within their system. "I'm a good student. I only break the rules occasionally and discretely. Hopefully I won't be the one they chose to make an example out of." We don't need to think this way anymore. We need to empower ourselves.
Personal freedom goes hand in hand with empowerment, empowerment leads to creativity, productivity and more empowerment. Suppression, on the other hand, leads to the feeling of powerlessness, then fear, adversity to risk, and more powerlessness. Why aren't there more student run businesses at NU? Why aren't we more politically active or more outspoken? Why isn't student government more powerful? Why do so many of us feel vulnerable and fearful of the administration? These are all examples of the lack of student empowerment at this school. Simplifying this issue to "Let us drink" hides the real significance of the debate over UHAS, Mary Desler and repressive policies focused on how we spend our free time. The administration doesn't think we can make good decisions about our own lives, our community or our university
When we choose to act responsibly (abstaining from drinking, partying or neglecting our studies) those are our own personal victories and they strengthen our character. When we are all coerced into doing those things out of fear instead of will power, we lose those victories and they become the university's. Naturally, we tend to rebel against the authority that tries to define our personal victories as products of their own tactics instead of our own rational decisions. Your achievements are your own, and so are your failures.
Freedom isn't as popular as you think. It puts a lot of pressure on people because their failure to act appropriately is their failure alone. Some people don't trust themselves to make good decisions (or at least learn from their bad ones). Others want their own moral codes imposed on 'the masses' because of their elitist mentalities. Furthermore when people are free, there is less individual power to hoard, so those in positions of authority support the concept in theory but not practice.
Freedom isn't free. We have to fight for it. If the administration continues to act heavy-handedly in cases concerning how students spend their free time, there will be protests; but there is so much more to do. We're fighting for a culture of freedom and empowerment. Start a student run business; make a public speech somewhere unexpected; display some experimental art; start questioning administration policies and look at their long term implications. Most importantly, fight for your right to live as you chose because only you can make yourself happy.
I have a message for the administration: if you don't have faith in us, we won't have faith in you. Don't bother asking me for money in the future.
Join the debate. Participate in the movement at FreeNorthwestern.blogspot.com