As the 2018 Fall semester has gotten underway at UConn, there have been an increasing number of disgruntled students on campus. Whether undergraduates are upset about the bus lines, parking, dining hall hours or classes, it seems as though students have no shortage of things to complain about this year. While some of these issues are a bit more individual, there are some problems that seem universal throughout campus. Because of issues like parking and bus lines, many undergraduates have been trying to make their voices heard by contacting administration or speaking with others who have similar problems. Unfortunately, it often seems that these complaints are overlooked by the university administration and little is done to change the way students are feeling. Due to these issues, many students are wondering how much the university actually cares about its undergraduates’ opinions.
While there are definitely lots of issues that the administration doesn’t seem to respond to, there are some topics they are very quick to reply to. For example, last year when Lucian Wintrich came to the university to give a speech titled, “It’s Okay to be White,” the administration was quick to send out a statement when the event turned violent. Of course, this event and the ensuing discussion it caused by members of the student body were based around a much more serious topic than parking issues. However, this speedy response still shows the ability of the university to respond and make a change when the students speak up.
So, why does it seem that when thousands of students are upset about a slightly less political or toxic issue, the university no longer seems to care? This past week, USG organized a forum for students to “air their grievances on the recent parking and transportation issues to administrators.” About 24 students attended this forum, and administrators said that they hoped to form a plan to alleviate some of the struggles that students have recently had with the transportation on campus. This is obviously a step in the right direction and will hopefully lead to a change on campus. However, this meeting did not occur until after countless weeks of students sending emails, leaving voicemails and posting their frustrations on UConn’s Buy or Sell Facebook page. While parking may not seem as urgent of an issue to some, the difficulties students are facing cause many to miss classes and struggle to get to campus. This loss in education is something the university should take seriously.
As students on this campus, we need to demand our voices be heard. While an issue like parking is not nearly as serious or offensive as a white nationalist spreading hate on our campus, it is still the university’s duty to listen to our complaints, no matter how serious the issue. While problems inevitably arise, it is still the responsibility of the school to respond in a timely manner, not just ignore us until it is convenient for them.