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Students and Faculty Protest Recalibration

Kris Vetter | Managing Editor | 01/26/2011

Despite the flood of so-called information from President Richard Hanson’s forums and website and blog, and most likely Twitter, BSU students and faculty are not buying his “recalibration” plan.

In fact, several different forms of protest have been enacted, including information circulation, poetic anti-recalibration letters, signs, T-shirt ideas and only half-joking plans for student walk-outs.

The first of these forms of protest, information circulation, was noted by Hanson during the student forum on January 20. When asking the president questions, students cited a stapled packet of four pages that directly stated which academic programs were being reduced and eliminated. These packets had been emailed to faculty and staff, but were strictly not meant for students.

The overwhelming rate of proliferation of such information may have surpassed Hanson’s expectations. Although you have to admit that at least the student body of Bemidji State wants to be kept informed and involved in the reshaping of the university they now call home.

Another form of protest clearly taking advantage of the first amendment was a leaflet calling itself “The Green Letter” penned by “A. Nona Moose.” The leaflet, which insinuated that it was the first in a potential series, was titled“President Richard Hanson Eviscerates BSU,” has been circulating around campus, described in vivid and poetic detail the author’s interpretation of Hanson’s recalibration plan.

“I’m sure his ancillary mentum waggled with special glee as his desk, the chopping block, was evermore bespattered with the blood of the academicians,” stated the letter at one point.

The letter also included an email address, through which fellow protestors could contact them — and several students have done just that, receiving replies promptly.

A more literal demonstration of protest was displayed at Hanson’s faculty forum on January 20, when two professors interrupted the president’s welcome speech by carrying signs screaming “Bad Data” and “Visionary or Mercenary” for all to see. The following day, the Bemidji Pioneer used a photo of one of these protestors beside Hanson for their cover story.

Although no protests by mass numbers has been demonstrated yet, a group of students who disagree with Hanson’s “recalibration” have toying with the idea of a silent protest that would include a vast number of students. Each student involved would wear a black T-shirt that states their chosen major on the front, and the amount of money they pay for tuition on the back. The theory behind this design is to display how the group feels that Hanson views them, simply as a set of numbers and dollar signs.

Lastly, rumors of student walk-outs and other clichéd demonstrations have been circulating through the student populations. Although most faculty discourage students from upsetting their learning experience, since this is what they are fighting to keep, faculty influence may not be enough to halt this form of student expression.

But however these protests are received or interpreted, one thing is for sure: President Hanson’s hands are getting very full indeed.