Moment of Clarity: The Whole Truth
The biggest issue that the Howard community should find with elected student leadership this year is that they are truthful. The truth is dangerous. Or, better put, the partial truth is dangerous. From the very start of the school year, some may speculate even earlier, the student body has allowed its leadership to get away with spoon-feeding us the convenient truth, the easy truth, the partial truth.
It is convenient to always blame the administration for our problems, and to perpetuate this image that we have of our administrators and board. We assume they are all elite fat cats, sitting high in their offices conjuring up ways to make the student experience worse. We think that they don’t do anything at all, besides waste money and lose paperwork. Then the student leader gets to come in on a white horse to speak for that helpless and abused student body.
It is easy to speak only in terms of what “they” need to do, not what “we” need to do. Of course we can criticize the complacency and mediocrity of University leadership, without even mentioning the complacency of the student body or the mediocrity of our very own student leadership practices. That’s easy. This process, in a discourse, in called othering. Describe what the others do wrong, which leads to the implication that what you do is right.
The partial truth is that offices are understaffed, facilities are run-down, and services are underfunded. In short, the vast majority of our concerns with Howard are partial truths. The offices are understaffed here because some would rather have financial aid, heat, and a professor than a 24 hour library. Facilities are bad because alumni leave Howard with the resolve to NEVER give back, which perpetuates the lack of capital investment. Services, like financial aid, are underfunded because of the simple yet harsh economic law of supply and demand.
That partial truth is dangerous; it portrays the situation as much worse than it actually is. Should we expect administrators and board members to perform better, of course! Should mediocrity and complacency be unacceptable standards for our University officials, absolutely! Should understaffed offices, run-down facilities, and underfunded services be improved, definitely! But if student leaders don’t level with the students about the full picture, these problems will only be perpetuated and worsened in the future.
Some conditions at Howard are indeed unacceptable. However, where is the talk of the improvements that have been made? Where is the appreciation for those administrators who actually perform above and beyond their job requirements? What are students doing to improve conditions, besides complaining and blaming?
This University is one community, one family. The community, our family, has some serious problems. Family problems aren’t solved by alienating, blaming, or ousting