Opinion: Governor Grieves School’s Students — Snyder speaks at Albion

Earlier this semester, Albion College sent a letter to every graduating senior.  In the letter, the Albion College administration announced that Governor Rick Snyder would be giving this year’s commencement address.  This upset some students.
“Our college claims that we like diversity, and we want all of this movement towards a more equal world,” said Chrissy Jackson, Bloomfield Hills senior.  “[It] seems like what Albion College fights for—in the handbook, and diversity statement and the other statements—is not really what Rick Snyder stands for at all, actually.”

Snyder’s politics resonate with students from wealthy families, straight students and others who simply agree with his fiscal views.  This has left him at odds with various students who come from low-income households, who are part of the LGBTQ community or who hold differing social views.

“If all of the students that attend Albion College are not middle class, white, American male citizens that are heterosexual, then we should have someone that realizes that and acknowledges that and stands for diversity, like we have on our campus,” Jackson said.

Just like Jackson, other students from Albion College found themselves disappointed with the selection of Governor Snyder.

“I don’t think Governor Snyder should be the commencement speaker because I feel like any politician that you bring in is going to [be] a divisive issue,” said Rachel Keener, Grand Rapids senior.  “But especially him.”

The issue that most students have with Governor Snyder coming to speak is the difference between what Albion College’s handbook supports and what Governor Snyder supports.

“I think it sends a message that they [certain students] are unwelcome at Albion,” Keener said.  “I think that it’s inconsistent with what Albion advertises their mission being, especially in terms of diversity.  It’s kind of like a stab in the back.”

Not everybody agrees with Keener or Jackson, of course.  John Fleming, Grosse Ile sophomore, had an alternative view on the situation.

“I understand that there has been some discontent, especially among the seniors, about the choice for this year’s commencement speaker,” Fleming said.  “But personally I think it’s kind of cool that we can get the Governor to come to Albion.”

Although Fleming is in support of Governor Snyder coming to Albion, he also recognized that every student is entitled to their own opinions.

“I think that’s part of who he is,” Fleming said.  “But I think that any semblance of civil discourse that this campus clings on to should respect the fact that, while we disagree with Governor Snyder, it’s important that we listen to our leaders come and speak to us.”

Photo by Major.guy2012, Wikimedia Commons.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent choice. Time for the students at AC to understand you need to compete in the global economy. Gain a strong liberal arts education, get a job, work hard, continue your lifelong learning, and contribute to society. Snyder is certainly for all of the above – none of which is prevented by your race, gender, orientation, etc.

    Go Brits.

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