Dear everyone who cares about Mary Washington,
Given the number of presidents we have had at UMW in the past four years, I feel like this school is an African banana republic. With our current President leaving, there is a power vacuum in our school. That is why I think we, students and faculty, should use this opportunity to take over. A coup d’école, if you will. It would certainly eliminate the disappointment that comes with being involved in student government.
Dispersed among the lot of us, we have the credentials. The psychology department already runs CAPS. The economics and business departments can work together to create a balanced budget. The political science department can exercise their diplomatic skills by meeting with big donors. The international affairs department can manage the school’s policies regarding international students. The biology and chemistry departments can manage our sanitation problems while the physics department can analyze the structural safety of the buildings on campus.
With an extra $330,000 in our yearly budget (plus the cost of trips to Dubai), perhaps we could give the faculty the raise they’ve deserved for the past three years. Let’s give the staff, who work in the wee hours of the morning to ensure the beauty and cleanliness of our campus buildings and grounds, a wage that they can actually live on. Reform our policies to eliminate the bureaucracy surrounding student activities, which even the administrators in OSACS hate, so students can actually start clubs, put on events and get the equipment they need to actually enjoy being a part of student life.
Consult with administrators and students before implementing policy changes that leave half of the sophomore class encumbered any time they want to go on campus outside of class hours. Give the students who work for the university more of a reward for giving back to their school than a cut in their financial aid. Implement policy reforms – gender-neutral housing, sensible drug policies, sweatshop-free UMW merchandise – that administrators are too chickens**t to admit are good ideas.
Stop paying Sodexo to extort money from students and to use our facilities to provide bad food. Open our food services to multiple companies that don’t make their money contracting with prisons. Or, if we must work with Sodexo, mandate that they recognize a union of the food service workers so the workers don’t have to work two part-time jobs with no benefits.
Reform our policies so students hurting themselves with drugs get help rather than punishment when their friends call the police in an emergency. There should be no deterrents for students to get the help they need when they want to pursue it. And speaking of student health, create a single-payer healthcare plan so students can get health insurance at an affordable rate.
Provide Plan B emergency contraception at a reduced rate. For those students who get pregnant and want to have the child, give them maternity and paternity leave, and provide childcare services for their children when they come back to school.
Why should students pay $200 for a parking pass if they can’t even find parking on campus? Make student parking passes universal and open all lots for anyone with any parking pass. The faculty can park anywhere in the city anyway.
Teach professors how to use Blackboard to meet students’ needs rather than inundating them with all the cool features that nobody would ever use. Now that we have Starfish to schedule appointments with professors, allow professors to determine their own office hours rather than sitting in their office for an hour waiting on nobody. Allow professors to designate time to their classes by allowing professors to determine their own course loads.
We have the power because we have the numbers. Let’s reclaim Mary Washington for those who make this university great!