In a democracy, government is created FOR the people, BY the people. Democracy thrives because we, the people offer a concrete container for it. Collaboration ensures fluid progression in society. Majority rules. Note: the term ‘majority’ should never be taken lightly terms of democracy. Often, a misconception arises in the wake of political melodrama. This controversy often stems from the interpretation of (or lack thereof) what democracy actually means, and how it’s established. When an individual or organization is unhappy or displeased about current events and/or the status of politcial reign, he or she is quick to place blame elsewhere (onto the authoritative figures, dare-I-say). From here on out, I’ll call this theory the “knee jerk reaction”.
When we don’t get the answers (or solutions) we are looking for, it’s not uncommon for frustration grow. Although the logical solution in this case, would be to refer back to, and analyze the initial question (rephrasing it might just have better results), it’s not always the immediate reaction.
This theory applies on a national scale, but also on a smaller, more intimate level. Whether it’s the presidential election that didn’t turn out the way we’d imagined, or tax increases in order to fund a program that we aren’t the least bit passionate about, the same feeling comes over us; betrayal, of sorts. This feeling derives from our idea that we have no control over the situation, or that other people made decisions for us. We might feel as though we are living in more of an aristocracy than a democracy at times (Minority rule vs. Majority rule).
I’d like to apply our “knee jerk” theory to the intimate setting of our “small school with the big heart”, that is Castleton. As we are all very well aware, Castleton State College is expanding. Although we’re promised that the enrollment will not rise exceed two-thousand, drastic changes are being made to Castleton.
These expansions are being described as ‘opportunities’, that will benefit (and engage) the college as a whole. The general consensus I’ve received in passing and in conversation with the Castleton public is this: the “knee jerk reaction”.
I am guilty of jerking my knees as well. I hate to say it, but I’ve complained, even bitched about the “Castleton face lift.” It boggles my mind that a hefty chunk of the $25.7 million dollar budget is being drowned in a pool of football mania! (mind you, “It is the largest investment in the history of Castleton and the Vermont State Colleges, and it holds the key to our future,” said Dave Wok, President).
I feel slighted that more emphasis is being put on the FUTURE of Castleton than on the PRESENT. The football program is being built from the ground, up (literally) to entice the interest of more athletically inclined students to our school. In any other setting, I’d say, “Hey cool!” but this is a small liberal arts school, and my hard-earned money ($300 student activity fee per semester) is the down payment. In the entire span of Castleton’s existence (remember, it’s one of the oldest in the country), football was never a concern. Why now, is it top priority?
One last bitch, I promise:
As a Communications major, it’s a huge slap in the face that there were once significant plans to revive and update the Comm. department (relocate to the NEW Campus Center), but now they’ve been cut. Where is that money going instead? Surely not to the “state of the art” turf field.
Here is a small excerpt from President Dave Wok’s convocation speech, in an attempt to explain away ‘changes’:
“To our initial regret, we decided that we could not relocate the Communication Department to a new addition to the Campus Center. That plan entailed exceptionally high expenses to relocate a steam line and utilities. Instead, we intend to build an addition to Leavenworth Hall for a new TV studio. Although we liked the idea of building a home for all student media in the Campus Center, there are also good reasons to keep the Communication Department in an enlarged Leavenworth Hall near colleagues in other academic disciplines. We sense that faculty in the Communication Department are understanding of the need for modifying our plans and that some may actually prefer the new arrangement.”
I’m kicking myself (HARD) now, for not publicizing my thoughts sooner, not having done something to alter what’s already in Phase III.
Once again, we revert back to the terminology of democracy. Although some may not regard Castleton in politcal terms, I believe whole-heartedly that Castleton is a democracy, we have the right to free speech, and they have to listen!
If a student feels as though Castleton doesn’t offer something he or she would like, it can be implemented and/or changed. With this said, I am displeased with the way in which I’ve been reactive towards the Castleton “facelift” rather than proactive. This is my encouragement to you, fellow students and staff:
It’s never too late to voice an opinion (On the flip side, it’s never too early either). In this case, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard complaints, and/or seemingly hopeless remarks made by students and staff alike, regarding some of the Castleton’s recent undertakings. Hey, I just did it myself, right? Democracy works by majority.
This is not an aristocratic organization. We are the framework of this building, the cement that holds it together. Our opinions are what matters. And technically, we hold financial control as well…those big bucks aren’t growing on trees. We are the majority, and it’s important that we remember that.
It only takes a few words (in this case, apparently more) to voice your opinion, whatever it might be. We can only make the best out of what we have, but what we have, can be the best. While we’re here, Castleton is our home, our reality, our future. Embrace your own ability to affect change. If you have something to say, say it…Loud enough so Castleton can hear.