The proposal made last week to eliminate degrees offered in theater, among others, sparked a student protest. This has spiked campus discussion surrounding the topic. Regardless of whether their protest will preserve these degree programs, the idea of student activism is what Bradley needed.
In the age of social media and the distribution of online petitions, it has become easier for people to voice their opinion online. However, physical gatherings are becoming harder to come by.
In recent years, the campus has had a few other protests in topics related to some larger issues such as climate change and gun violence. These are important national issues and such activism can mobilize local crowds and bring the movement to grassroot.
But it is rare for Bradley campus to have a protest in related to a Bradley-specific issue; a protest that’s organized by students.
After all, local issues are usually the ones that struggle to attract the public’s attention but have the most impact in people’s life.
The attention given to the issue is starting to spread and is evident with more than 10,000 signatures on its Change.org petition. In addition, the students in the program have utilized social media to post pictures and videos of students and alumni expressing their thoughts. This is a phenomenon of a community coming together and a program of 41 students quickly turned into a mass amount of support.
The protest was quickly constructed shortly after the news broke. It was a simple operation of chants, poster board signs and pamphlet distribution promoting their online petition to save the theater degree program.
Indeed, many of the students who passed by the protest were surprised to hear that multiple degree programs were being cut. Not only did the protest establish the thoughts in students’ minds, it served as a medium of information for those students who has not been keeping up with the news.
The protest has successfully attracted local media outlets and broadened the impact beyond the campus. As these proposals will eventually need the University Senate’s votes to be implemented, the protest has more or less added pressure to the decision-makers.
These students who participated in the protest all followed the university’s guidelines to make it a peaceful protest, delivering the message without causing disruption.
We as students are one of the most important components of a university. Our opinion matters. It is university’s obligation to honor students’ opinions, but it is the students’ job to voice them.