by Denny Russell
We all know that Antioch University has suffered growing pains in recent years. The university has taken some hits from the media, and as a result, is in constant campaign mode to reverse the damage done. (Our coveted Reaffirmation Campaign is proof enough of that.) At such a crucial time, the feedback from our students is vital for growth. Students are the barometers that reveal our success as an institution, more so than any positive ad campaign.
To that end, I’m pleased to report that a group of Antioch students has gathered diligently each Saturday to discuss campus issues. But I’m also concerned about HOW this group calls for student participation. Meeting signs on campus are adorned with the communist hammer and sickle design, a symbol charged with conflicted meaning and interpretations.
Yes, I understand we have some diehard communists on campus. This piece is not intended to argue political ideologies, nor is it to address the complaints we’ve had regarding the icon. (We’ve had a few.) I’m more concerned that displaying a communist symbol as part of our call for student participation is actually alienating some students from this crucial meeting platform.
All I ask is that we find a way to include ALL students in this conversation. Good intentions aside, a symbol like the hammer and sickle can act as a crude Rorschach test. Viewers will impose their own meaning on such a symbol, and to some, that meaning is negative.
I cannot stress enough how important student participation is to Antioch University. So I’m asking… is there a better way to draw students in to the conversation? Do the members of our Saturday meetings want greater involvement?