Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Issue of the Day: Elites

Today was spent talking to people, both in person and online, about the elections. And a couple main themes emerged. One is far more existential, and I need to organize my own thoughts more properly before I can even begin to express them.

But the more accessible one is that people perceive the AMS as being elites. As being a student ruling class, safely ensconced in their second-floor offices with plush, reclining chairs. In some, this breeds resentment. In others, fear, apathy, pity, and contempt. For others yet, it's respect, and something to which to aspire. It certainly makes the AMS neither accessible nor approachable. I also get the feeling it can't be exclusively concerned with elected office, since people have been expressing it about me as much as they have Gina, when I'm not a Councilor, nor an executive... I'm just an overly engaged student.

What I'm curious as to is where this perception comes from. Where do people get their ideas of AMS types? We heard today of peoples' shock at the fact that the people in the offices were students, not paid administrators/employees... that ain't right. We've also heard of people a little nervous or afraid of us, a thought that makes me very uncomfortable.

I've also realized that I'm very out of touch with the mythical common student. I'm just not good at getting into the hearts and minds of people who aren't, well, me. So that's why I'm asking you. I'm fully aware this isn't probably the best crowd to ask this to, as most of the readers here are AMS-types who would tend to fall into the class. But the comment left in the post below has given me hope that there are non-AMSy types, at least a few. So, my questions:

1) What specifically is it, that creates this impression of the AMS?

  • How is it that AMSers behave that alienates so many people?
  • What behaviors have made you feel left out, or not included?
  • Are we actually aloof?
2) What can AMS types do differently?

In the aforementioned comment I was accused, rightly, of using language that made someone feel alienated. It was a mistake. I appreciate that feedback. I also don't mean to suggest that it's merely a problem of perception; in this case, perception is the reality and they're equally bad. Anonymous comments are enabled - please be brutally honest.