There’s a reason every student is at this university.
For some, it is the education. For others, it was a scholarship.’ Perhaps it was something as simple as the good weather and its location near the beaches.’
Still more chose the University of Tampa for its athletic program, its fine arts program, or its excellent publications.
But The Minaret is willing to bet no one chose this private school because they wanted to forfeit their basic rights.
Time and again students have problems with professors, administrators and more, and are told they have no argument because this is a private university.
Why have we forfeited our rights?
Why are we not allowed the basic due process afforded to everyone else?
This university has the wrong mindset.
It has chosen not to be a research-oriented university, and therefore should aim to be a student-centered one.
Instead, we are forced to turn to the courts and have judges order that plagiarism charges be dropped, and that grades be changed.
Instead, we are forced to give up our right to question decisions because no one is listening.
At nearby University of South Florida, the president of the student government is appointed to the Board of Trustees and is involved in major decisions at their school.
There are 13 other trustees there.
At UT, the SG president attends a 30-minute glimpse at the trustees’ meeting and then is shuffled out as decisions are made.’
There are hundreds of UT trustees.
Too often, when the question is raised about why things like the plagiarism lawsuit happen, the answer comes back, ‘Because this is a private university.’
It is a pitiful excuse.
Being a private university affords this university certain powers and privileges, but denying students their rights, imposing convoluted rules and circular reasoning are not those.
This school is one of the best in the state boasting a stellar campus and faculty.
Students apply to UT in droves just for the chance to come to attend.
We chose to go here because of a 15:1 student-to-professor ratio.
We chose to come here because the campus is small and convenient.
We did not choose to come here to give up our rights, yet we willingly let it slide, letting that absurd excuse siphon away our freedom.
We cannot question our leaders without trepidation, rational or not, of a subversive effort to kick us out, hurt our grades or discredit our names.
This tyrannical stranglehold on power only reduces the level of respect students have for university leadership.
If those in charge are untouchable, how are we able to respond?
There’s nothing we can do about it’mdash;we go to a private university.
Someday, this will come back to haunt us.
We will give up the wrong right.
We will lose the ability to stand up for ourselves, and we will be so mired in a hole of secrecy that we will never see the truth again.
This is a call to openness at the University of Tampa.
This is a call to stand up for the rights of the students.
This is a non-profit business, yet the veil of secrecy shrouds any ability to see the true nature of the school.
And to students, beg for this openness.
This is your school.
This is your money.
These are your rights.
If you aren’t willing to fight for them, you don’t deserve them.