Solutions require rational approaches
The past few months have been tumultuous at best for University President Richard L. McCormick. Last spring, angry students occupied his office, demanding affordable education. Shortly thereafter, he announced he would be stepping down from his position at the end of this academic year. McCormick delivered his annual address to the University last Friday and the turmoil continued. In the midst of his speech, he was interrupted multiple times by dissatisfied faculty and staff members. Even students added to the agitation with heated language and blunt callouts of the president. These faculty, staff and students of course have the right to raise their concerns and protest policies that they disagree with, but they should be doing so in a civilized, respectful and intellectual manner.
As the president of the University, McCormick should be aware of the University community’s varied reactions to his policies, decisions and actions. Both support and discontent need to be brought to McCormick’s attention. Otherwise, the issues of students, faculty and staff will never be redressed. Still, interrupting the president mid-speech is, at best, counterintuitive to these aims and, at worse, just plain rude. It is counterintuitive in the sense that, in order to solve problems at the University, the community must work with McCormick. Addressing him and treating him as if he is the enemy makes such collaboration very difficult if not impossible, depending on how vitriolic these addresses are. As far as it being rude, that is rather self-explanatory.
Following McCormick’s address, there was a question and answer period. This period is a far more appropriate time to raise concerns. Not only is it respectful to allow a person to finish their speech before taking the floor, but a question and answer period is a far more constructive atmosphere within which collaborative solutions for problems can be formulated. Even during the question and answer period, some people resorted to passionate anger instead of calm discussion. In situations such as this, passion usually does nothing more than cloud minds and distort judgments. It does not do much towards resolution.
This is not a condemnation of those who would criticize McCormick. Rather, it is a call for the sort of calm, collected, intellectual approach that is necessary for effective problem solving. It is not necessary to agree with everything McCormick does. But, if one wants to fix what they see as a problem in the University, it is necessary to let reason, not passion, dictate their words and actions.