Political organizations are not uncommon on college campuses; UTA has its fair share, with prominent political organizations such as Young Americans for Freedom and University Democrats.
Democratic and Republican organizations are particularly special in their own way. However, the politically charged Progressive Student Union brings something new to the table.
“[Progressive Student Union] will be dedicated to defending students’ rights, collectively or as individuals, as well as promoting a safe environment to discuss issues affecting students who are enrolled at UTA.”
Taken straight from the first handful of lines in the organization’s constitution, this is a worthwhile sentiment in our day and age, especially given the current political climate. Progressive Student Union, as an organization, appears to have one primary function: protests.
In the past, they have been seen in front of the Central Library and the University Center mall with signs and flyers discussing DACA, gender-neutral bathrooms, the free Palestine movement and numerous other issues.
Their most recent attempted conquest has managed to push the organization in and out of the campus spotlight: the abolition of E.H. Hereford’s name and bald-headed good luck bust in the University Center.
The purpose of this column is not to argue the morality of Hereford, or lack thereof. In fact, the point is just the opposite — to encourage the Progressive Student Union to stop wasting their time watering dead flowers.
The issue of Hereford’s alleged racism was first brought up by Mark Napieralski, Progressive Student Union president, in October of 2018. A petition was written, and the organization stood relentlessly outside the UC and Hereford’s bust to gather signatures.
Their goal was reached and the issue was submitted as a resolution but ultimately killed by unanimous vote.
Fall 2018 semester ended and Spring 2019 semester began, and the Progressive Student Union was seen again in the UC with the same petition. This time around, however, the gusto of support had faltered. It was a hassle to walk by the UC information desk. Some students would avert their eyes and walk quickly; others questioned whether the organization had anything better to do.
Their signature goal was not met, and the Hereford debate thus could not be brought up again until next semester.
The perseverance of the Progressive Student Union in this case is admirable. However, the fact remains that the organization has so many other issues they could spend their time tackling. Yet, they will continue sitting on this egg, no matter how long it takes to hatch it.
This is a persistent issue with the Progressive Student Union. They pick one issue and hold on to it for a year or more. Learning when to walk away is a skill.
If the organization let go of the Hereford debate, they could focus their manpower, their funds and their time on more worthwhile endeavors.
Educating students on the purpose and effectiveness of political action, assisting students in calling their senators, a workshop on petition writing and effective campaigning techniques, or even gathering a group of students to join on larger marches and protests in the Metroplex would all fall under the Progressive Student Union’s realm of interest and would be a better use of everyone’s time than waving around circumstantial evidence to pull a name off a wall.