Thursday late afternoon, as my colleagues and I were playing kickball at Elbel Field, the powers that be barred us from play. The Recreational Sports referee first moved us off the softball field. After we had started to play again on a makeshift field next to the train tracks, an organizer forced us to move from the second location, suggesting we share an unobtrusive area with the cheerleading camp that was practicing down the field or to set up our field in the parking lot next to the field hockey rink.

The intramural softball teams often shouted down the thirteen-year-olds practicing their cheering and even this fan who was joyfully playing with a bottle of bubbles. Perhaps the teams were caught up in the heat of the finals, but the referees and organizers should not shuffle non-IM participants off the property.

On the other hand, when IM participants schedule time in the natatorium, it is not uncommon to see their pool time switched so that non-University persons can take priority. Simply because the University earns money from these people should not disadvantage students who are already paying for the use of the facilities. While an argument can be made that IM sports are promoted by earning priority over unorganized sports such as kickball, this same reasoning fails to explain non-University members getting preferential treatment over students.

The routine neglect of students in favor of those paying the University is not reserved just for our athletic facilities. When the University hailed the arrival of author Salman Rushdie for a three-day visit in March, it failed to include more than three hours of student-Rushdie interaction. In fact, even faculty members whose entire courses were dedicated to Rushdie’s works were not invited to the gala dinner, which was reserved to large donors.

Discontinuing vital programs has also become a trend at the University. Students interested in a journalism career can no longer earn a degree in that field from the University. Instead, they must look to student media to educate and to gain experience. Most students cannot afford attending prestigious journalism schools, as most are private such as Columbia University or the Medill School at Northwestern University, and this University needs to offer a competitive alternative.

Similarly, the LSA and Medical School collaboration in the Inteflex program, which produced the likes of Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN fame, has ended. This eight-year program that provided high school seniors a spot in medical school contingent on average MCAT scores is no longer available at the University. Instead of attending the University, my cousin, a Michigan fan for years who has been raised in all things maize and blue, has chosen to attend the Lyman Briggs School, the seven-year program at Michigan State University. Even more students leave Michigan for the numerous six-year programs in Ohio universities such as those at Case Western or Akron. While some oppose this program because students might miss out in the college experience, students must be given this choice.

Providing students the right to choose between more programs is just one way the administration can improve the quality of education at the University. Treating students with respect will create a cohesive university whose alumni will fondly remember it for endless opportunities and esteem instead of limited resources.

One such university is Rice University, which places an inspiring emphasis on the honor system. The students and their university understand that the reason for attending a university is for educational purposes. Professors do not proctor the exams, and students realize the weight of the trust placed on them. In order to stress the importance of the honor code, students take an active role in preventing honor code violations. In fact, the student newspaper, the Rice Thresher, usually discusses the merits of the student government’s vote on honor code appeals or a student’s appearance in front of the Honor Council.

University students besides those in the Engineering School, however, have failed to persuade the administration to take them into account. The once vibrant student body that only a couple of years ago took to the streets protesting the opening of Starbucks now sits passively without fighting for our rights. Only through student lobbying will an unadulterated message reach the administration: Punch and cookies are not enough to subdue a student populace that is tired of being treated as children.

Chirumamilla is an LSA junior and the Daily’s editor in chief.

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