By: Willem Kline
“It’s one thing to disregard students, sure, they can just play us off as dumb college kids. But when you go over professionals who have dedicated their life to making your college better, and providing students the hunger to learn, that is disgusting.”
There are frightening things that humans tend to think of when they believe their very way of life is being threatened. We watch National Geographic specials where animals tear each other apart for their homes and their children. What could a person possibly do with words?
Student A’s elusive letters, while written as a grievance towards the administration and their supposed trickle down method of dealing with anything out of line, are something of a retaliation from all ends of the campus. But can a retaliation be peaceful, and can we find a way to sort out the problems between these two sides, peacefully?
I continue my interview with Student A by listening to what else they have to say about the current state of Illinois College. The most controversial side of the discussion happened to be A’s personal beef with President Farley and the administration, and their inability to communicate with any number of higher ups in senate. The most recent problem stems from the print server incident, involving the printing of Student A letters. Senate was recently barred from their ability to now print necessary papers without outside approval from approved faculty members. This violation of the right to speech was especially jarring for not only A, but for people directly involved with senate, and many more. “That was the decision to how the decision to the printing code was made. They don’t foresee though that this pissed a lot of students off. The majority of Student Senate is ready to have a f*cking riot, because these decisions keep getting made from the top down. There was no investigation involving the student senate, there was no evidence presented about how they figured out whether or not those Student A letters were being printed from the copier or not. There was nothing. There was no communication between us.”
Is Student A ready to riot? On the contrary, Student A doesn’t seem to want to riot at all. In fact, A went on to state that they were impressed with the number of individuals who were taking on the identity as their own. “There’s so much going on that it’s almost stupefying to me as Student A. I hear that they’re putting the letters in the Archives, they’re discussing the letters in English 121 classes. I heard that the SAB exec council was talking about the letters…I am so happy to see students interact with this and do things with it. The whole purpose of being Student A is that other people can assume this identity. I will admit that I am the sole writer of these letters. The second letter that was about diversity, I found the graphs that were included on the diversity and inclusion committee packet. I found the enrollment that compiled the student population by ethnicity. For the most part, I even do the distribution on my own.”
The surprise of all of this comes especially from the assumed fear of the student body that someway, somehow, there will be consequences for the actions of these protestors. A tells students not to worry. “If a decent amount of us do it, we can’t be hurt.” A states, “I understand why Students will be worried about retaliation. If you ask anybody on the student senate, they’ve seen President Farley retaliate. In response to a letter of grievance written up by an anonymous group about student concerns. She retaliated at a meeting, showing up with an annotated version of the letter and just ripping it apart, piece by piece. There were demands at the end of the letter, and she denied every one.”
I asked if A wanted me to keep that last one on record for everyone to read. A looked me dead in the eyes and said, “No, this can stay on the record.”
There was a sharp pause in the room and I stayed quiet for a bit, somewhat inspired by this person’s ability to fight back, something I would never dream of doing…but there was still more to be said.
Willem Kline, from Belvidere, Illinois is a sophomore here at Illinois College, pursuing a double major in English and Theatre with a Communication and Rhetorical Studies minor. Willem is the current Editor in Chief of The Rambler, Co-Captain of the short form improv troupe on campus, and an avid pursuer and connoisseur of anything artsy-fartsy.