Opinion: It’s Okay to Praise. It’s Okay to Complain.

Dr. Glen Robinson

One of the perks of working and spending the past 20 years on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University is that I have gotten used to the idea of being able to speak my mind. Academic circles have a tradition of free speech, and with a few exceptions intended to simply protect the integrity of students, faculty and staff or keep us out of libel court, that goes very much on this campus.

I encourage students who are new here to get to know Ken Shaw, our university president. If you’ve been on other campuses, you will be pleasantly surprised at how approachable he is, how often he will remember your name and even details about you, and actually listen when you speak. And you’ll learn that President Shaw is a staunch advocate of free speech on campus as well.

What I want to say here, in this first posting of the new 2018-2019 school year, is this: Don’t be afraid to say what you think, good or bad. Southwestern is a friendly campus, and we consider each other family. As family, there are times when we need to hear that we are doing things right. And then there are times when we need to hear if we’re doing things that need to be fixed.

If you see someone doing something right, let them know about it. The deans have a hard job. So do the maintenance workers, and the custodians, and the grounds keepers, and those who work in the cafeteria. Often it’s a thankless job. If you enjoy a meal at the cafeteria, don’t be afraid to tell a worker, or a friend, or even post that it was good on Instagram or Twitter. If you see a beautiful sunset over a freshly mown lawn in the campus mall, thank a grounds worker. If you were working there, you’d want to hear thanks. So be the person who thanks them.

On the other hand, there is always room for growth. If something need fixing, let’s hear about it. If you have a complaint, let’s hear that too. And in fact, there are specific methods for filing complaints. Check with your RA, your dean or your student handbook for the guidelines.

In addition, we welcome student opinions right here in the Southwesterner. Despite rumors to the contrary, this publication is designed primarily for students, faculty and staff of Southwestern Adventist University. Our philosophy is that if people are talking about it on the sidewalks of our campus, we should be writing about it here.

Better to complain than to grumble to yourself. Better to praise than to keep silent. Let’s help each other grow and have a terrific school year together.

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