Why I complain

Pup peeves

All I do is complain. At least, that’s the accusation levied at nearly the entire Observer opinion staff. And, in some ways, it’s true. It’s a part of my job to angry bark about something for around 300 to 500 words. I find it cathartic. But beyond this, it’s an accusation that has deeper implications for us as a whole.

There’s a certainly a whole lot to complain about around here. Case Western Reserve University offers no shortage of poor decisions, strange responses and endless deflection. As summer begins, it certainly does fade into the background for the majority of students. It does for me as well. I’d love to have a fountain of praise for CWRU, but it’s difficult to find much to laude.

I recently spent a better part of a Friday morning and afternoon placing angry phone calls in an attempt to stop the destruction of a historic University Circle mansion, the CWRU police headquarters on Juniper Road. It’s being removed to make room for some generic brick square “Alumni Center.” After being spent in strange circles of answering machines and canned responses, I chalked it up to yet another example of CWRU’s way of (not) operating.

I do try to actuate change at this institution, but it’s like fighting with a three-year-old that somehow ended up in a board room. It’s not as if there’s a bureaucracy to fight, even. It’s more like a rather nefarious collection of non-interacting, barely functioning systems. Some of things that happen here could only happen if no one was actually paying attention.

In the face of all this, I get rather angry. The Observer offers a platform to at least vent about all this. I’d love to take my complaints and create change, but every time I’ve tried, I seem to get sent spinning off again. Excuses range from “a lack of funds” to “a lack of people” to “a lack of preparation.”

It seems that to create change at this university we can’t simply raise voices to beyond a fever pitch, but instead  need to heighten them to a piercing, shrill howl that rattles walls and wakes Babs from her slumber. It’s the way we got gender inclusive housing, for example, in a rare display of collective outrage.

There’s an expression in activist circles, “love the machine, hate the factory.” That is, I care deeply about CWRU students. So much so that it hurts me still, even though I’ve managed to wrangle myself to graduation. But the only tool that works to fight Factory CWRU, it seems, are my words.