Okay, now it’s almost an hour after I started writing the initial post and was about to submit but the computer decided to randomly restart itself so now I’m even more frustrated. It’s 3:29 and I’m still awake, not in my own homestay house but in the house of another student, who is currently sleeping. I should be writing my ISP proposal, my book review (although I don’t have a book to review), or my field journal, except now I’m writing this again! Damn computer! What I was doing was looking at all the articles that were written about my dad since he anounced his retirement recently and seeing all the discontent with his administration from students and other employees. My last post was much more well written, but now I’m frustrated and rushing to get this thought off of my chest.
I’ve been thinking about the complaints that students and faculty have deemed as central to their reasoning for drafting a vote of no-confidence and it just reminds me of how superficial and ungrateful people are. But as the old saying goes: “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” and you had a gem! As a student I know what it’s like to not like the administrators, to feel like unnecessary expenses are being made when other more pertinent ones are needed, to feel like your president is absent, and so on and so forth, but y’all need to take a step back and take a good look at things. Look at your campus now and compare it to how it looked 5 years ago, and think about how it will look once all the renovations that are planned are completed. Take a look in magazines that lists colleges from 5 years ago and compare the amount of alumni giving reported from then to now, there’s a difference. Students think they have it bad?? I go to a school that costs a ridiculous amount more than GSU and you all just got brand new dorms, no a village of housing, that has security, 4 people to a suite, 2 people to a bathroom, and parking for a lot of people in good proximity. We pay so much more for housing and I share a bathroom (3 toilets, 2-3 showers, 2-3 sinks) with an entire FLOOR of people, male and female, have no parking anywhere nearby, and it’s cold! So walking isn’t a matter of being lazy, but freezing in the snow. Money is hard to come by at any school and the designation of funds for projects is not as black and white as we students like to think. Different things are paid for from different pools of funds, and though things that cost stupid money that are passed may seem unfair while other things are cut back, that’s life, and it sucks, but that’s how it works. We have a new jazz building being put up and movie theater being renovated, but our access to food has been cut back on. Financial aid, is difficult to come by no matter where you are, and even if you have a good administrative team working on it (which GSU has notoriously had issues with, which the president shouldn’t have to babysit over), the nature of a college will still mess you over. It’s not a unique issue. Most of the problems students at GSU complain about are universal issues for all college students, yet, not everyone is trying to fire their president. You take for granted all the VAST improvements that have come, most of you never knew GSU before the changes were made because you hadn’t enrolled at GSU, so you don’t understand the privileges you have.
As far as people’s biggest complaint about my dad not being visible and accessible, let me tell you something. I have had to share my dad for these last 5 years and for 9 years before that, but at least then we lived in the same house. For 2 of the last 5 years, one of us had to drive 7.5 hours in one direction to see the other, and for the last 3, take a plane either to Ohio or from Louisiana. I understood what my dad wanted to do in working at GSU and I was proud, but it still sucked a lot of times. So many of the times that I wanted MY dad to be somewhere, he was at GSU dealing with trifling BS of people who can’t do their job, and going to beauty pageants and other student activities that students complain about and write articles about if he’s not there. Meanwhile, my dad had to compromise missing some of my plays, some of my recitals, homecomings, and even my PROM, because he was trying to do the best job he could and pass on the best gift he has: a good education and an opportunity for Black students to succeed in life. Luckily, he succeeded in raising a daughter (1 of 3) who didn’t emphasize too much importance in these activities of high school and got the bigger picture, but it still would have been nice to have your own dad see you in your prom dress than be at a college with people who don’t deserve him. I don’t know how many times people in Grambling (students, faculty, alumni) have bitched and moaned about trifling things that they themselves care so little about and that they don’t contribute to themselves: he didn’t wear all black and gold to the last football game (really? this is important), he missed the miss grambling pageant or some other pageant to go to florida (it was my bday by the way), he didn’t name this building right, even though no one gave any money to its construction, and so on and so forth. So much complaining, and yet people aren’t doing what they need to do. It makes me hot to hear students complain that they had an inaccessible president. Grambling ain’t nothing but a fleck of dust on a map, the town is no bigger than the distance you can spit, it’s TINY. If you somehow managed to go 3 years without seeing him, that’s your own damn fault. I live in a different state and he’s MY father and I see him. That’s just being lazy and needing something to complain about and someone to blame. Folks always want to blame someone when they can’t see that sometimes the blame lays within. But all of you who complain right now have seen my father more than I have even in the last couple of months. The last time I was supposed to spend time with my dad, he had to turn right back around and go to Grambling because of the end results of someone’s foolish decision that resulted in the premature and distressful death of a student. I understood, as I always have, the needs that other people have of my dad, but at the same time realize, that shortly after I left the country for Brazil (where I still am today) and did not and will not see him until the middle of December.
So again, if you think he’s inaccessible then get up and walk all 5 feet to his office to go see him. That’s what we have to do see the president at our school. And you have more privileges than most students do with their president; when you’re upset and want to meet, he allows you full access with cameras and reporters to then twist and turn all over your student literature. Our meeting are hush-hush, and information is quickly shut down, as it is on most campuses. So many people think that the privileges they have are things that have always existed and that people didn’t have to work hard to create, and I guess that’s what happens with generations and people not taught their own history. But I’m saddened that a few deafening people (who probably weren’t doing what they were supposed to) had the power to sway and delude the opinions of so many others, because I doubt sincerely that so many students are so well informed about the true economic state of a campus without a few seeds being implanted to stir up trouble.
But I can say one thing. I’m happy my father is retiring and coming home to sit still (although I’m not sure how long he can sit still, that’s just his nature to be active—I’m the same way). And even though I’ve been overall more than happy to share my father with other people, to share the gifts of education that he gave me with other people who also should have this gift, I’m more happy that I no longer have to share my father with people either too dense, too selfish, too unknowing, or too ungrateful to realize what an opportunity, what a prize they had in their midst.