Transitioning, Not Listening

Trends have a funny way of coming and going. Sometime around 2011 the ninja and pirate gained traction as the characters to evoke.

It meant you were random, and random was the new cool. Just sprinkle the words bacon, narwhal, epic (or a multitude of others) into your sentence and suddenly everyone around you would go, “hey, you sass that hoopy? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.”

But, like all trends, this one eventually hit market saturation and the once lauded head nods of approval turned into cringes of despair. There’s nothing special about these phrases, fads like these pass through the zeitgeist constantly.

When it was just the stuff of teens/ tweens I really couldn’t care less, but now I’m seeing it in the grown up world, which is becoming a little disheartening.

As EMU goes through its listening process, it’s hard not to question the validity of that terminology.

Before going any further let me make it clear that I am all for a change to the hiring policy. I don’t want gender/ orientation/ethnicity or any other criteria to be in any way a part of the discussion when it comes to hiring and the sooner we can move away from such anachronistic policies the happier I will be. That being said, calling it a “listening process” is more than a bit disingenuous. Are we actually willing to listen to the more conservative voices among us? Is there more than one outcome that could be deemed acceptable to the changes set in motion? Would the student body, professorial staff, or administration really be willing to be moved on this issue?

The answer to all of these questions is a firm no. Backing out of this process would result in a stain on our institution that time will not wash away.

To claim that something is a listening process would have to involve all sides coming to the table (another threadbare euphemism) and genuinely listening to each other to come up with the best course of action. This is not that. When was the last time any one of us gave the other side any merit? Heck, when was the last time we saw a vigil or any kind of public speech from the other side? People don’t feel comfortable voicing negative opinions on this matter because they know they will be ostracized for it.

What we are going through is instead a transitory process. We already know what side the school and the rest of the country will come out on and we’re just giving those with more conservative leanings time to adjust to this inevitability.

This is a way to soften the inevitable blow, to let them know that they are and will still be a vital part of this community even though the policy will have to shift away from their point of view on this issue. It’s an important process and one that is vital to maintaining a cohesive community amidst changing times, but to call it a listening process is just empty pretence.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time now. Either we choose to move forward with the march of progress or we will be marked with the same brand as George Wallace and dragged forward anyway.

I don’t mean to sound pedantic, it just seems like a bold faced and unnecessary lie to call this something it clearly isn’t. Do we really expect anyone to believe that this is a listening process? If not, then why are we calling it one?

-Bude Bude, Contributing Writer


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