Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letter: Lariviere firing a moment for catalytic student change

I am a senior at the University and I am writing to express my dismay and outrage over the Oregon University System’s unjust decision to fire University President Richard Lariviere, and to express my concern for the future of the University.

Considering that fewer than 6 percent of the University’s budget is paid for by the state, it is ludicrous that the board has the power to fire the president of the University against the wishes of the student body, the staff and the Eugene community. But what is even more disheartening has been the placid and docile student body reaction.

What attracted me to attend the University four years ago was its reputation as an epicenter for political activism and free thinkers. It was the eternal energy surging through the streets of Eugene that made this place feel so hopeful, so alive. When I told people that I was moving to Oregon to attend this university, it meant something. Upon my arrival to Eugene and integration into the community what I have found, however, is the opposite. My peers seem to be indifferent and apathetic instead of passionate and profound in thought.

When I heard the board’s decision, I was outraged, and the more time I spent talking to my peers about this injustice, the more outraged I became. Not because I was feeding off of the communal upheaval that I had expected, but because I realized what this place really has become — a museum of activism.

The University’s student body used to be an active, politically charged, organized group that stood up against oppressive authoritarianism. What the student body has become is feeble and docile. The students at the University do not care about what is happening around them or to them. They do not care about the injustice that faces them. They are content to walk away from the corridor of integrity and to not embrace our history of public unrest. It is when youth truly stop seeking to question that evil prevails.

There should have been riots in Eugene that momentous night; there should have been outcries. Anger should have poured into the streets and occupied the campus, our campus. But there was no movement, no resistance.

This moment is a catalyst of change for the University. The moment we are living in right now will define the future of this community, of this university. We have been nationally embarrassed by the weakness of our resistance. Our professors are up in arms, our community members infuriated, but our students, the people this affects the most, feel nothing, care about nothing. As activism sweeps the University of California system and social media is pumping through images of united students screaming, “Whose university? Our university!” the juxtaposition is all the harsher.

It is in this moment that our futures will be decided. This campus may relinquish our last strand of hope and back down from our last chance of noncompliance. Either we will continue our march into meritocracy, or in this moment we will change.

The coming week will tell our fate. Either this campus will stand united and demand to be heard, or we will secure our position in the ranks of indifference. My hope is that 20 years from now, when I show someone my degree from this university, it signifies that I stand for something that means something.

We must not let ourselves be ushered into the dawning of a new time, the time of compliance. Our road is paved and our future is waiting. This is a plea for the student body to activate. This is a call to arms.

Stand for something!

Erin McCauley@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@
University student

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