It Honestly Is More Than Just Grass

It Honestly is More Than Just Grass
Anthony Harris
Opinions Section Editor
anthonydeanharris@gmail.com

Every now and then, I tend to write things with lofty ideas.  I sit at my laptop with the thought that I can teach my beloved school about Faulknerian universal truths (“love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice” according to his 1949 Nobel Prize acceptance speech) and most of all truth.  Many feel that I often miss my point.

One week ago, I published what was possibly my most accepted article.  The one about the seemingly insignificant grass.  What many people said to me and thought about the article was that I spent so long on an issue that seems rather small.  I felt I was lucky that my article was read at all amidst the grand hubbub of secret societies.  Still, many did not see the issue that I was presenting, and therefore I take the opportunity to elucidate my main point.

My argument was not merely about grass, but it was about truth.  I find fault in a school I do not find truthful.  It has rules unsaid that overrule all.  It has a social structure that neglects the inhabitants.  It preoccupies itself with appearances to attract future paychecks i.e. students.  It courts the rich and disregards those already here and already paid.

The student is not the client.  If the student were the client, we would receive the services this campus would claim to provide.  If the student were the client, we would be able to use grass that the student handbook allows.  If the student were the client, we would receive good customer service from Gloster to Sale to Chivers.  If the student were the client, Crown Forum would serve a specific purpose that would benefit us in this materialistic, lost world for Negros.

I was not merely talking of grass last week, but of values.  I value my school not lying to me as it does.  I value a written contract to coincide with spoken word.  I value keeping the power on when I pay for the electricity and the cable when I pay Comcast.  I value walking into the cafeteria and getting quality food instead of a ten-minute wait to swipe my card to get cereal, the only hardly edible thing there at times.  I value more than two functioning computers in a computer lab.

To quote Morehouse alumnus and famed poet, Saul Williams, “I got a list of demands…”  (Heaven only knows if Morehouse were not some small inspiration to that song.)  The first demand I make is truth.  May our written word align with our actions.  People break laws instead of ideals if you’re in authority.  If I get belligerent, I want to know a reason other than “conduct unbecoming of a Morehouse Man.”  I’ve been here long enough; I’ve grown quite tired of platitudes.

I conclude by reflecting on the recent JetBlue Airlines story.  The appalling tale of passengers stuck in cramped airplanes for up to ten hours incited JetBlue to release a clear Customer Bill of Rights.  I push for the same thing here.  

I demand that refund checks are paid in a timely manner, that customer service sincerely improves campus wide, that “send me an email” isn’t the new “have your people call my people”, that power outages don’t overwhelm students twice in one week, and that I am treated with the respect that a tuition-paying student deserves.  But most of all, I demand that we stand for the values on which we were founded.  I demand education, and most of all, truth.

I would know for a fact that I would get these things, but I know better.  The student is not the client.

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