Students circled like vultures as Michele Murray spoke last week about changes in the demonstration policy in the student code of conduct (see page 5). The meeting, which lasted two hours on Wednesday night, descended into uneasiness as Murray fielded questions from some of our most outspoken students on the policing of black and brown bodies, details concerning the new rules and the punishment that would follow their violation. Murray insisted that all was for the sake of our safety. Needless to say, she was on thin ice.
It’s telling that only one part of the student code of conduct was changed: the demonstration policy. One could say that this is a direct result of the Matteo Ricci College sit-in. (For those who don’t know, in May of last year, a group of students occupied Casey Building for 24 days to protest a culture of institutional racism and the marginalization of minority voices. They demanded the curricula be overhauled and that Jodi Kelly resign as dean of the college. A month later, after classes had ended and most students were home for the summer, President Father Stephen Sundborg, S.J., announced Kelly’s retirement.)
It would seem that the administration has yet to collect itself since the sit-in happened. And to make matters more troublesome, it was announced in September that the Seattle University administrative body would seek court review of the NLRB’s decision to allow the SEIU to form a faculty union here. These are but two of the biggest wedges that have been driven between the administration and our community of students, faculty and staff.
The fact is, Michele Murray isn’t single handedly responsible for the changes made to the code of conduct. And I doubt Sundborg made the decision to seek court review of the NLRB ruling all by himself. Both of them, in varying degrees, are held up by a power structure consisting, among other things, of the board of trustees, board of regents and private donors. In the end, Seattle University is an institution backed by big, private money, and we don’t understand how it works. While I am grateful for my education—and my dad for paying for it—I see it as my job and the Spectator’s to figure it out. Thanks for reading.
—Nick Turner, Managing & News Editor