Forum tries for dialogue on NU’s problems

Lauren Mogannam

Mediocre sports, a lackluster social life and not-quite-Ivy League academics were just a few of the topics addressed during One Northwestern’s Tuesday night event in McCormick Auditorium entitled “I HATE NORTHWESTERN: Are you happy here?”

The forum drew 26 students, about 10 of whom were members of One Northwestern.

“We didn’t want the forum in a traditional sense,” said Claire Lew, the organization’s founder and chairwoman. “We wanted to use extreme viewpoints to promote dialogue and get student reaction.”

One Northwestern was founded in September to promote a greater sense of community at NU, said Lew, a SESP sophomore.

But some students said they were irked by the deliberate use of extremes. Neha Sobti said she went to the event to see if other students shared her opinions, but felt the event was too scripted.

“I felt manipulated,” the SESP junior said. “I thought it would be a forum of community, but I felt lectured at. I’m glad it was made, but the approach was abrasive instead of welcoming.”

The forum kicked off with a speech criticizing NU by James D’Angelo, president of College Republicans. Lew said the group invited D’Angelo because she thought he would be able to get students thinking about what they don’t like about their school.

“It was just a way to get people thinking and get a graphic dialogue developed,” Lew said. “We want to inspire passion among students. A lot of people see Northwestern as four years of their lives as a way to get a job. “

Although the speech was intended to spark student involvement in the forum, some students said they did not like how it was presented.

Kyrsten Brown, who said she considered transferring last year, said she thought the event would be an opportunity to discuss what they did not like about NU.

“I was frustrated while I was in there,” the SESP sophomore said. “I felt that people didn’t get a chance to say what they wanted to say.”

Lew said the event was intended to be a discussion about student life but became sidetracked by criticism of administrative policy. Still, she plans to organize similar events in the future.

“Some people definitely hate it here,” she said. “It is extreme, but we are not stretching the truth. The buck isn’t going to stop here.”

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