What does a student organization have to do to get some respect in this place?
Hell, not even respect, just some common courtesy that should be extended to any contributing member to the human race, even if that human happens to be a lowly college student interrupting your game of Minesweeper.
In order to get anything accomplished in this university, one must dodge through fiery hoops and jump over endless stacks of paper, usually requesting the acquisition of your soul.
Take us here at The Big Green. We’re just learning the ropes as a student organization, trying to produce weekly issues of our publication. Sounds pretty simple, right? But in order to organize a staff of over forty students, we have to have a time and place where everyone can meet face to face, on a Sunday night. In order to meet on a Sunday night, the Physical Plant has to call in a janitor to turn off the lights. And this cost us fifty dollars a week.
Fifty dollars. A week. For fifteen weeks. Cleaning up after all of the women’s basketball games wouldn’t even earn us half of that price tag.
So why did we agree to such an arrangement? Well, we didn’t. The physical plant told us the bill of much less than fifty dollars per week would be sent directly to us, but instead the friendly folks in accounting drained our student account each week without our knowing. And even when we told them of the problem, alerted the Physical Plant of their error and found a different location at which to meet, we’re still being charged. And let’s face it, you’re reading this for free. We have no money.
I realize that the world doesn’t revolve around our publication, nor should anyone be expected to cater specifically to our needs. But, had we been told fifty dollars in the first place, we would have all happily crammed into a back booth at Panchero’s to prepare our next issue while chomping on tortilla chips, no problem. We like tortilla chips. But we do not like the dance we’re expected to perform every day in every corner of this campus to resolve these issues.
And it’s not just our staff that gets crapped on. Our own undergraduate yearbook, the Red Cedar Log, isn’t even allowed to get quotes from student athletes. They’ve tightroped the red tape of the sports office every afternoon in search of one tiny little quote from anyone who has ever worn a football jersey in Spartan Stadium, to recap this year’s football season. A “it was fun” would even do. But every day they are told a different story, transferred to another department or completely refused altogether. I’m not sure how The Big Green, just an infant on the scene, is expected to survive if the largest yearbook in the nation can’t even get past the sports office secretary.
And this affects everyone, not just journalists at MSU publications. At one point in my education, I had four advisors. Four of them. None of whom knew what the others were thinking, but all of whom were in charge of getting me down the aisle come graduation day.
I realize MSU must function as a bureaucracy in order to coordinate all of their programs and departments that span multiple spheres of academics, human resources and student life. But with the advent of technology that whips a message across campus in a matter of seconds, it is hard for me to comprehend the massive breakdown in communication that is evident in every department.
I’m sure everyone is doing their job and working hard, and I blame no one specifically for the inefficiency of the university. I do blame bureaucracy, but since it is hard for me to pronounce, and even harder to spell, often this blame gets transferred to the friendly woman behind the desk. And I apologize. You’re just doing your job.
But, that’s the problem. Your job shouldn’t be to live in a little bubble in an office seperate from everything else going on at this university. Your number one priority should be the students. Keeping students happy should be the best source of job security there is, because, if there aren’t students to fill the lecture halls, this university would simply be a river and a tower, with no student athletes to keep away from an innocent yearbook journalist, or student organizations to meet in an empty classroom in Berkey Hall.
Now that McPherson is gone, we have a chance to reorganize the way we do things administratively. Let’s start with reaquainting ourselves with the art of communication and rededicating ourselves to the university’s ultimate goal of ensuring the best education for our students. Then, instead of listening to complaints and confusion, everyone would have a little more time to devote to Minesweeper.
And really, isn’t that bureaucracy’s main goal, anyway?

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