Student activism losing its luster

As the Cynic noted back in late January, the “Give Us Back Our Reading Days!” protest fell flat, boasting a whopping total of 10 participants – or around 3 percent of everyone who expressed their interest in the event on the Facebook page.

In the interest of consistency, perhaps, the pitiful pattern was repeated during the “Million Student March” April 13, in which – and I’ll be generous with these numbers – only 30 students showed up, this time with an even lower initial interest of 62 people.

Like Bernie Lomax in “Weekend at Bernie’s,” student activism at UVM has been dead for some time, its carcass being merely propped up by stubborn kids in need of its image, and which seems to be alive only to those too apathetic to spare even a cursory inspection to discern its lack of a pulse.

[media-credit name=”DAVID BERNIER” align=”alignnone” width=”300″]protest[/media-credit]Student protest is alive at other schools like Berkeley and Mizzou. At UVM, it’s as immaterial as Mr. Lomax, a simple prop for comedy.

Given that Mizzou’s incoming first-year enrollment declined by a crippling 20 percent due their destructive protests – which caused a $32 million budget deficit – we should likely welcome this news.

First and foremost, a university’s primary duty to its students should be to facilitate and foster an educational environment capable of producing self-possessed scholars, and not devote (squander, really) its finite resources in meeting the economically illiterate demands of its resident radicals.

UVM generally does not suffer from this affliction. As evidenced by the “Free Cone Day” protests by the anti-Israel crowd, a chunk of UVM’s rowdy activists aren’t even students, demonstrating that we are veritably outsourcing our protests.

Burlington residents thankfully fill the positions of protesting jobs Catamounts simply won’t do.

This is great news for you, reader. Gone are the days when your late-night exam cramming study sessions at the library are rudely interrupted by righteous students – whose free time greatly exceeds their intelligibility – who feel pressed to inform you that you are “privileged,” a daft epithet to describe someone whose 20-page research paper is due soon.

No more will you have to step over the bodies of your fellow classmates on your way through the Davis Center because they’re acting out what it would be like to be dead because of climate change, as if to insist the prospective demise of the person who’s delayed your already-tardy trip to class should elicit your sympathies in the slightest.

One may not necessarily disagree with the “Million Student March” crowd to disdain student activism. You may even entertain the idea of free tuition, and like me, be an out-of-state student who wouldn’t exactly mind the fact the taxes of a low-income family in Rutland, Vermont might be raised for that purpose.

You may just doubt the capacity of that family to withstand the elevated tax burden. Or you’re a realist and may have some reservations with respect to the feasibility of having your tuition subsidized by shouting “Fuck Tom Sullivan.” It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.

The zeitgeist of student activism at UVM is simply that: an ineffectual phantom, the Bernie Lomax-esque prop of students, the very few, who fetishize an era they’ve never known and who insist upon thrusting their fabricated nostalgia upon the rest of us.

We should be glad it’s on its way out.