As a newspaper, the Campus Times strives to report, as factually and completely as possible, on issues relevant to our campus as a whole. For years, the University has been living with a problem that transcends, as clichéd as it  may sound, time and administration. The problem I am alluding to, of course, is apathy among the Rochester community.
Apathy at Rochester has been a constant problem, ever since the 1970s. It exists not only within the confines of pre-meds, but within every major on campus. Our campus is incredibly future-oriented, which some might see as an advantage. Students are, however, almost too forward thinking ­­— always thinking about graduate school, careers, post-college life and nothing else.
First and foremost, the SA and the administration need to recognize that apathy is a problem causing more harm than good on our campus.
Part of the problem is that the administration and SA Senate are perfectly happy with an apathetic campus. Much of the time, students, faculty, and staff are not given the full story on on-campus events. For example, the Campus Times itself reported on the bomb threat in Wallis Hall this past September by chance. Students were never alerted about the immediate (emergency) situation, and an official press release was never made available to the public or members of the Rochester community.
Members of the admissions office and the communications office constantly monitor social and, more broadly, online media to make sure that Rochester gets singularly good publicity. While this is not illegal, it does give weight to the idea that the University is centrally concerned with its image, both publicly and internally.
Take the Confederate Flag controversy that occurred earlier this year. I understand that people were offended by the hanging of the flag. But from what I’ve heard, the decision by the Office of the Dean of Students to ask the student in question to take down the flag was largely motivated by money and the reaction of alumni over Meliora Weekend.
The student body is powerless. The SA Senate, the body that is supposed to be a voice of student opinion and the way for such student opinion to get implemented, is mostly powerless. The March 3, 1972 Campus Times edition described Senate as “…a sickly and largely ineffective body.” This holds true today, but with a different context. The issues that matter for students, such as the existence of a sit-down restaurant (payable with declining), are known by Senate, but Senate itself acknowledges that it cannot do what the student body wants it to do. “…they were going to take the Mel away completely but the SA fought to have the options there, so everyone knows,” SA President Shilpa Topudurti was recorded saying in the minutes from Sept. 23rd’s Senate Meeting.
The SA recently wrapped up the first phase of their “5K Challenge.” The conditions of the challenge state that students can propose ideas that can be implemented with $5,000. The ideas rendered acceptable by SA will stand to an SA vote, whereupon Senate will implement the winning idea (next semester). This is definitely a step in the right direction. However, allocating only a mere $5,000 of the SA’s reserves to student ideas is not only ludicrous, but a challenge to the concept that students can actually have good ideas. Hopefully the SA will devote money to directly implementing student ideas.
Novel ideas are the key to solving this entire quagmire. Inspiration drives innovation. This school has various means of inspiration, be it clubs, on-campus research, or faculty. But ways to get those means of inspiration and translating them directly into ways that directly benefit the student body are small to none. That is something that needs to change.
Schaffer is a member of
the class of 2016.

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