UTSA’s Main Campus is no stranger to controversy. Our student body is outspoken and opinionated, and that is amazing; all young people should have a voice, and I am glad to attend a school where a lot of my peers share the same opinions and passions I do. Because I know we all want to see this community grow and create change, I offer this criticism: we, as students, do not organize effectively on campus.
While there is a lot to be said about holding signs and yelling, the mission behind the protest tends to get lost after that. The dirty work doesn’t get anyone clout, and it doesn’t make for a good photo-op. This is why a lot of the organizing and activism that takes place on campus comes across to some as opportunistic and performative.
This is not to say the protests should stop. If demonstrations were to cease and we only worked for change in offices, we would lose a sense of community as students. That sense of community is what gives us the power we have as students. But this community is also hierarchical at times, with protests being marketed as events and the most active of us being put on a pedestal and treated as a type of celebrity. We are strong, but we would be stronger with true and transparent unity and delegation. These are tactics that, when we come together, are more than capable of.
Creating a true wave of progressive change for our campus can look like us getting down to the real work, putting down the signs, planning and organizing together. It is unfortunate, but our administration sees these displays as just that: displays, where students act out. It takes gathering together, tailoring effective tactics and strategies for each issue, and using those plans to apply pressure to make UTSA better for each other and future students.