This is my final semester at Utah Valley University. I have been here for three years. I have fallen in love with this school for the same reasons that many of us choose this school: smaller class sizes, enhanced engagement opportunities, and practical experiences.
My original intention in coming back to Utah was to attend BYU. Nevertheless I stayed here and while I have been in the valley I have been able to examine the differences between these two schools and am entirely satisfied with my decision to stay.
One of the biggest reasons for my satisfaction is in watching the suppression of student voice at BYU. Students are not in a position to express themselves in the same way that we are. Whether it pertains to faculty or administration, students there are definitely limited in expressing their views.
Something came across my inbox the other day that completely sustains this. I know a student at BYU who is involved with a Middle East peace organization. This individual had some concerns about a Hebrew Club advisor who (from the student’s perspective) seemed to be politicizing the club. This student, named Kfir, wrote an e-mail expressing his concern and cited several cases of perceived bias. I read the e-mail repeatedly and found Kfir to be extremely professional, though certainly firm in expressing his concerns. The essential message calls for a return to the tenets on which the club was founded, and departure from the divergent views being put forth by this professor. Reasonable, right?
The professor’s response was absolutely abhorrent and went so far as to call Kfir a “hyperbolic and fantastically arrogant condescending brat” just for bringing up his concerns
Believe me when I tell you that if you had seen the original e-mail sent by Kfir, you would be stunned at this response. I think my head almost exploded. There is absolutely nothing that would warrant this type of response from a faculty member. Even if the initial e-mail had an extremely aggressive tone, this response, coming from a professional BYU faculty member, is disgusting.
My purpose in writing this is not to debate Middle-East politics, or whether or not either party had a legitimate concern. Likewise, it is not my intent to typecast all BYU faculty members because I know that some are terrific.
But, I want to show how fortunate we all are to attend a university where our faculty is both accessible and approachable, and our administration is extremely receptive to us. This administration listens to the feedback of the students through the UVU Review, UVUSA, the classroom, and other student organizations. Further, I would NEVER expect to see a response like this from any member of our faculty. In short, I feel that UVU is set apart from the rest of the collegiate pack because we are much more student-centric.
So, for those of you that are debating between BYU and UVU, please take it from a future alum: Stay here, get involved, speak your mind, and enjoy every single second of it. You might not get that chance at another school.