Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
Leeor Schweitzer K’11
After my recent sit-in protesting the College’s event policies, I have received a lot of criticism on my tactics and goals. Much of this criticism had been relevant and thought provoking, and I thank those who provided it. However, many criticized the fact that we did not attempt to have a conversation with the administration, and that is simply not true.
I have gone in to speak with Dean Westfall, Dean Jansma, and Dean Joshua-Wathel dozens of times during my time at K. My first time was during the first week of my first year when I discussed the hookah policy with Dean Jansma. While my meetings achieved some “agreements”, these usually consisted of the deans agreeing to state the policy they already had in place more clearly.
Mostly, I got very frustrating responses that did not encourage further dialogue. I will paraphrase (not quote) a few of these responses. In discussing the hookah policy I was told: ‘these policies are inconsistent, but we are not going to change them’. In discussing residents’ rights I was told: ‘I don’t have an explanation, but that’s how it’s going to be’. And when working on getting notified about changes to the Code of Conduct, I was promised that changes would be made during the summer of 2009. When they did not occur, I was told: ‘Sorry, it slipped my mind, I will do it next summer’. Although I followed up many times since then, those changes have yet to happen.
I have had a few conversations directly about these event policies, but more importantly, Student Commission, the representatives of the student body, have had conversations with the administration on the event policies. In these conversations we are interrupted, condescended to, and treated generally with great disrespect. We have tried to engage in dialogue, the administration has refused that offer.