Two students recently issued a petition to improve communication between officials in the theater department and acting students.
The petition, drafted by Harrison Langford and Callie Dewees, acting sophomores, has 162 student signatures so far.
See Page 1 for more on the petition.
Once it receives 200 signatures, Langford and Dewees will take it to Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music, and hopefully arrange a meeting with the provost.
The next step, however, will only be effective if university officials take the petition seriously.
OCU is run by its faculty and staff, and students should understand that they do not control all of the university’s functions. But, when students have serious concerns and articulate them as Langford and Dewees are doing, university officials have every obligation to at least take their concerns into consideration.
Professors in the School of Theater already proposed many of the changes the petition suggests, but were turned down by the deans, according to Langford.
They then turned to their students to advocate for the department, based on the theory that university officials are quicker to listen to students than to faculty.
Assuming this is true, the petition should receive its due attention, even if all of its goals aren’t met. University officials would be wise to listen to the students who breathe life into the school they run.
Langford and Dewees make it clear in the petition that they are not demanding changes or seeking control of the department’s affairs, rather they want more transparency between students and the deans.
The suggestions in the petition that are change-based, mostly having to do with poor facilities, should be seen as attempts to improve the school that university officials and the student body love, not as domineering orders for the deans to obey.
The wall between student and official is precisely what this petition is attempting to erase, but it will only do so if it can make it past that wall to begin with.