In response to a recent opinion piece in the Middlebury Campus titled Hit ‘Em Where it Hurts, which addresses student protest and avenues for change at Middlebury, student activist Adriana Ortiz-Burnham ’17 writes in with her opinion on the issue and her reaction to the article’s claims:
In The Middlebury Campus, (Oct 09) Luke Smith-Stevens, in “Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts,” characterizes Middlebury students as “a captive market.” He claims we “are left with few options for student protest” because “there are basically zero avenues to create change…” Given that the “nouveau-activists” to whom he refers are students irate about tailgating policy, my question is whether those avenues at Middlebury are appropriate for the tailgating issue.
Smith-Stevens suggests a student worker strike as an effective way to gain the attention of the administration. He admits “there are flaws in this idea…the lost income it would mean for student workers.” Why, yes. I have two jobs at Middlebury and one at home, which contribute significantly to the costs of my education. I would be expected to sacrifice my ability to pay for my education while being subsidized by those with “no skin in the game.”
Perhaps approaching the administration was not effective in the tailgating effort; I am not privy to those details. Smith-Stevens says the strike should be a “response to a truly unacceptable administrative policy, the likes of which we haven’t recently seen.” I can name at least one policy which is in fact “truly unacceptable,” that of AAL. Several of us have spent months trying to change it.
The aim of MiddIncluded, of which I am a founding member, is to broaden the cultures and civilizations requirement from Comparative; Europe; North America (excluding Mexico); and Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East; to Comparative, North America (including Mexico); and a choice of two of the following: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Europe. Why? Because “AAL” elevates the significance of Europe, the U.S.A., and Canada, while lumping the rest of the world into the category of “other.” This requirement is outdated, anachronistic, and fundamentally discriminatory.