The University of California Berkeley in the 1960s became the birthplace for student movements on college campuses across America. With it’s great success in its purpose in the Free Speech Movement, Civil Rights Movement, and the movement against the Vietnam War, it became the template for student movements throughout the past 50 years. The college campus has evolved from being a place of learning the classics and trades for future jobs into a dynamic center of political movements and innovative thought.
In today’s college campuses one of the major themes of protest is the rising cost of higher education that plagues almost all universities in America. These rising cost of education causes a myriad of secondary problems that universities have to deal with on a daily basis. For example, students at the American University were protesting the administration’s union blocking strategies against its adjunct professors. Student see the stress that it places on their teachers and the results of those stresses claiming that they are receiving a poorer education because of it. Another example is the desire for college and university administration to become transparent about the cost of education. In other words, students want to understand how the revenue of universities are being spent. New York University protested using a sit-in until the administration acknowledge their stance.
The tradition of student movements resonates even here at Occidental College. Today although not about economic crisis in higher education, students protested in the quad what they believed was their right to open communication from the administration regarding a real and serious matter concerning sexual abuse on campus. Oxy students protested against the administration in keeping with the 50 year old college tradition of a call to action.
Students are responding to the crisis as it especially affects them and their future. Through protests and demands for clear and transparent communication, students hope that they could be a part in the solution for the problems that are causing the crisis in education. It is evident, however, that many of these responses do not actually offer viable solutions that may heal the problems. Rather they are merely pleas for acknowledgement of the problems from administrations. Acting upon emotions and the feeling to fight against the status quo of authority, students respond in loud protest to show their perspective to the situations at hand.
I give kudos to those students who are courageous enough to stand up for what they believe in. However, being the person I am, I would like it if students understood and are willing to bring together, coherently, their purposes and plan of actions that will give solutions to the problems. I may be naive in this field of political action, and I know I may have a idealized version of procedures dealing with this subject. However, I definitely admire the risks that they take and the proceeding accomplishments that they acquire in their exercise of free speech and societal responsibility.