A response to #PreserveOurFIU

Juan Salamanca/Contributing Writer

 

So you’re an environmental activist determined to stop the administration’s plans to demolish a critical part of the nature preserve to build additional athletic practice fields on a college campus that has seven.

You’ve done everything right. You signed the petition. You went to the rally. You’re going to be there at the Faculty Senate meeting and the Board of Trustees meeting.

I got bad news for you: You’ve already lost.

The decision has been made. Your appearance at the Board of Trustees meeting isn’t going to mean much. But what if you have a little leverage with you?

See, the thing is that politics–on any level, even college–is a game of power. Power is sovereign over those without it. If you don’t have it, there’s not much you can do about the people that do.

President Mark B. Rosenberg is a trained political scientist. He knows this.

He knows no matter how many signatures you get before the Board of Trustees, they’re not going to budge. He knows your rally in front of the Graham Center is going to be a footnote, at best. He knows that by telling you they want to work out a “win-win” solution, that’ll be enough to keep the resistance at bay and the pitchforks away.

Because of that, any good direct action isn’t going to exactly be civil. You have to find a way to make them listen to you, to speak to them in a way they can’t ignore you. That’s why Martin Luther King Jr. boycotted the Birmingham buses and the workers of the Pullman strike did what they did.

The administration isn’t seeking to build new athletic fields over the nature preserve because they’re mustache twirling villains determined to pillage Mother Gaia. They’re not aiming to become more influential in the American Conference just because President Rosenberg is that big a fan of elite college football. They’re looking for one thing: money.

They’re hoping that for the small price of $8.9 million dollars and the biodiversity of the nature preserve, they can build a better football team that’ll sell more tickets and more jerseys. Moolah, so to speak.

Want to hit them where it hurts? Consider a boycott on all food products sold on campus. The petition has gathered thousands of signatures. If every single one of the people who signed it pledged to stop buying campus food, it would be enough to hurt the establishments on campus, particularly those owned by Aramark.

The University very much values its contract with Aramark. According to the “Third Party Design, Construction and Operations on FIU Campuses” pdf created by Jeff Krablin, the assistant vice president for business services, they get a cut of the whole deal and feed the campus for cheap. Aramark very much values its contract with The University; it gets about 32,000 de facto customers to cater to and extract from. Just like it does at other schools and private prisons.

Put that on the line, and perhaps the administration will think twice before they destroy the sole source of water for the wildlife inside the preserve.

In Solidarity.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

 

Image from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-forest-moss-leaves-4700/

 

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