LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dear administration, do our voices really matter?


“Your voice matters.” 

“We want to hear from you.”

These are the words President Davies stressed in an email to the community regarding opportunities for us to participate in open forums and town halls related to decisions that will impact the community. 

However, how can our voices be heard when CMU officials schedule town hall meetings and open forums at a time when many classes are in session? How can student employees and full-time staff have their voices heard when many are at work when town hall meetings and open forums meet? How can our voices be heard when the community is given only a two-day notice about an upcoming town hall and a three-day notice for an upcoming open forum?

In a qualitative interview with a faculty member, they stated, “I am proud of my students and support their mission, but I wish I could support them more. Many of us do, but we cannot since we don’t have much security.” Therefore, how can faculty give honest opinions when doing so can jeopardize the security of their job?

These actions are why community members have deduced that the town hall meetings and open forums are set at a time to hinder the community’s voice due to certain actions or inactions by President Davies and other CMU officials. What other reason could they have for scheduling a town hall meeting from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or an open forum to meet from 2-2:50 p.m. when class is in session. Some students and staff also work during those times. Is it to hinder the community’s voice?

Moreover, President Davies stated in the email, “We clearly heard and understand the concerns raised about the proposed Washington Commons residential project….” 

Yet despite that our voices were “clearly heard,” at the last Board of Trustees meeting, when student leader Aubre Thomas spoke at the meeting, she observed some trustee members who were on their phones, staring off into space, or checking their smartwatches while she spoke. 

How does this behavior demonstrate President Davies’ claim that CMU officials want to hear from us and our voices matter? 

If President Davies and other CMU officials actually want us to feel that our voices matter and are being heard, it is time to end scheduling Board of Trustees meetings in the middle of a day when classes are in session and students and staff members are working. 

It is time to end town hall meetings and open forums scheduled during the middle of a weekday. 

It is time to end the practice of giving the community little notice for opportunities to participate in important decisions that will impact them. 

We request that President Davies and CMU officials host additional town hall meetings for the Washington Commons residential project, other town halls, open forums and Board of Trustee meetings at a time that gives most of the community the ability to participate. 

An appropriate time, we suggest, would be after 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, or anytime on weekends.

Sincerely, deeply concerned student leaders,

Rafael Garza, Lauren Hull, Addison Hoekstra, Nolan Kamoo, Cassidy Maslowsky, Aria Segura, Aubre Thomas, and Stephanie Venn