Author: Ben Dalgetty
The student body and faculty of Occidental are faced with a potential turning point in our time at this college. President Prager’s resignation has shocked the entire school and no one seems quite sure where to go from here. Many members of the student body have been unhappy with the administration; however, the resignation of President Prager by no means guarantees that things will change for the better. Prager is not the sole embodiment of this administration, and her resignation does not change the mentality that seems to have permeated it. It is our responsibility as students to ensure that the future of this school—our school—is trusted to a President working for the students.
This responsibility is not an easy one, and if we stand passively by, the power will be taken out of our hands. I am afraid that we may allow ourselves as the student body to become factionalized and thus marginalized. Clubs, ASOC branches, media and the entire student body needs to stand up and use our voice to help Oxy towards a positive future. This is our opportunity to influence the future of this school; this is our chance to make a mark on Occidental.
I would also like to extend this call for unity to the faculty of Oxy. All of us want to see this school make numerous changes and all of us agree that the status quo is no longer acceptable. I have never heard a student say we need to cut faculty pay or give you guys more work; Oxy underpays professors and there are not enough faculty to meet the needs of this institution. It can only be in the best interest of the faculty and student body to work together towards reshaping and restructuring the way our school works.
At the faculty meeting following President Prager’s resignation, Board of Trustees Chair Dennis Collins discussed the need of the Board of Trustees to “stick their finger” into the governance of the school. Collins was not extremely forthcoming as to what this actually means, but given the unilateral appointment of Eric Frank as Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, I can only believe this is a bad thing.
I am by no means saying that Dean Frank is unqualified or undeserving of this position, but rather that this type of autarchic action by the Board of Trustees marginalizes the views and opinions of the faculty and students. As multiple faculty members pointed out at the meeting, what about all the hard work and hours invested by the Dean Search Committee?
It is time for the student body and faculty of Occidental to ask if our school is going in the right direction—not whether the school is following the Board of Trustees’ five- or 10-year plan, not whether the school is higher on some arbitrary ranking system, but whether it is going in the direction we want.
I have written this before, but I must reiterate that this is our school, not anyone else’s. Oxy belongs to the students and faculty of this school and it is our responsibility to guide it towards a brighter future.
Ben Dalgetty is a sophomore Politics major. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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