Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

The disappointment of student apathy

The following pieces, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Of the more than 300 people attending Gregory P. Crawford's open forum in Wilks Theatre Wednesday morning, only a little more than a dozen were students.

This turnout is not only disappointing, it is unacceptable.

It is also indicative of a larger problem - lack of student interest in the events impacting this university.

We understand that students have a lot going on. Between classes, doing homework, having a job and maintaining relationships, this event was likely not even on their radar.

But it should have been.

The president is not simply a figurehead. Not only does he represent the university, but he is also responsible for creating and maintaining - or changing, when necessary - the culture here.

Many students argue that who the president is has no impact on their day-to-day lives. They couldn't be more wrong.

The president is involved in hiring faculty and staff, fundraising and ultimately defining what life is like at Miami. His priorities will influence us all.

Whether or not students are willing to acknowledge it, this matters.

True, the forum was during the morning when many people have class. But there were not 15,000 students in class at that particular time on that particular day.

It is frustrating to see students so disconnected from the reality that this is one of the most important developments that a university undergoes. In Miami's 207 years as a university, we have had just 21 other presidents. Gregory Crawford is joining the elite list of leaders chosen to shape Miami. He will become part of this university's history.

And yet, rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to meet this man, students spent their Wednesday mornings nursing their '90's night hangovers, sitting idly in Starbucks or just sleeping in past the 9:45 a.m. forum time.

But, the blame should not fall solely on students. Low attendance also likely stems from lack of awareness caused by the administration's failure to properly notify our community of the event.

While faculty received an email alerting them of the finalist's visits, students got no such message. Whether this was an intentional act to further shield the secret presidential search process, a lapse in judgment or sheer laziness, it was a huge disservice to students.

The only way students were notified about Crawford's visit was through a message on the myMiami web page, an interface that people don't often spend much time browsing before moving along to their email inbox or Canvas.

So, the forum, like the search procedure itself, came and went, unnoticed and unquestioned.

Frankly, student attendance might not have made much of an impact - it's not as though there was a post-forum evaluation where Crawford was critiqued. It's not as though there was a vote to decide if, after meeting him, faculty, staff and students reacted well to our new leader.

In truth, the forums were nothing more than a formality. Practically, it doesn't make a difference if students went or not.

But on principle, it is problematic that the majority of the student body is indifferent to the goings on at their university.

People have to be skeptical. The apathy shown by the student body did more harm than it did good during this presidential search.