The first time I was called an idealist was when I attended a summit in Washington, D.C., with 11,000 other youths to address the issues of renewable energy, climate change and environmental justice. At this summit, keynote speaker Van Jones, an African-American environmental-social activist and Princeton professor, inspired the youths who will inherit this country. His speech instilled in us the value of being idealists.
Jones described idealism as a world view and power that resides within us and holds the ability to creating a better world through critical thought and creative action. And idealism provides an impetus for working together and creating a more just and responsible society.
The second time I was called an idealist was by Fort Lewis College President Dene Kay Thomas. I will admit the demeanor Thomas used when she addressed me was not in any way encouraging or inspiring like Jones, but I will take it as a compliment nonetheless.
The FLC administrations inability to acknowledge students voices is disheartening. Paying students have the right to advocate for the educations they wish to attain. The concerns raised by students, faculty and community regarding Tina Evans removal from the Environmental Studies Program have fallen on deaf ears. The administrations actions have negatively affected students educations and the Durango community.
As a senior in the now uncertain Environmental Studies Program, I have been very active in trying to open dialogue between students and the administration. Despite this effort, we were ignored and then silenced as Thomas compared our student-activist efforts to the Kent State massacre of 1970. Apparently, what happened at Kent State is the lesson we were supposed to learn regarding our activist efforts.
As students, we need the support of the community and encourage all those concerned with this issue to write to Thomas, the FLC Board of Trustees and The Durango Herald.
Who better to hand down our society to than the youths? Who is more apt to create a better world than those who can envision an ideal world?
Alex Pullen, Durango