To the Editor:
In his Monday column, James Kirchick drew a distinction between politically active students “committed to thinking about issues” and those “committed to screaming about them.” While this makes for nice rhetoric, this grouping creates an appearance of division among campus liberals where there is none. We would do better to consider the difference between those who are committed to social change and those who are not. Anyone who has been paying attention for the last few years knows that the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, or UOC, falls definitively among the former. Were it not for the UOC’s “screaming,” far fewer students would have been educated about last year’s strike, Yale’s workers may not have received the contract that they did, and a settlement would not have been reached as quickly. More immediately, without the UOC’s efforts, my thoughts about this particular action, which were unclear in the context of Jamie’s article, would never have occurred because financial aid reform would not have been a major issue.
If we are currently on the verge of financial aid reform, it is in no small part due to the efforts of the UOC and other like-minded students. Though I have serious objections to Thursday’s sit-in, these are objections to one particular action, not an entire organization, and certainly not to their broader efforts to win financial aid reform.
I, along with the vast majority of students on campus, am looking forward to improved financial aid. When Yale finally takes steps toward this, we should not allow one action to obscure what the UOC has done to make this possible.
Jesse Wolfson ’07
March 1, 2005
The writer is a national liaison for the Roosevelt Institution.