When it was announced the banners in Reed’s gym would be no more, it started an online title wave of emotion.
I received countless tweets from former and current students who follow me (@Trib_Shoup) expressing their outrage with the decision. Their argument has a rational defense. There is, however, a strong case to start a new tradition of celebrating championships in the gym as well.
I wasn’t the only one to notice this response. So to gather ideas on a next step, new Reed Principal Josh Rosenbloom and new Athletic Director Ryan Sims held an open forum Thursday night in the school’s theater.
It wasn’t a secret. The event was certainly publicized.
Once the decision to hold the forum was made, Sims called me and asked to help get the word out. A story was online that day.
Holding the forum was the right call. They weren’t trying to dictate a plan for the banners in the middle of the night. They were asking for help. They want to continue the celebration of the school’s historic athletic tradition in a progressive fashion.
And still, just eight people showed up for the event. Three were current coaches (football coach Ernie Howren, softball coach Jon Wunder and girls soccer coach Jason Saville). Not a single current or former Reed student who expressed their anger to me behind the security of their phone’s keyboard decided to attend.
Do Reed students and alumni expect someone to fight their battles for them? Are they scared to have to stand up and share their opinion with their voices instead of their fingers?
Saville, who was without question the most vocal opponent of the banner’s removal, spoke on more than one occasion about his disappointment in the turnout, sarcastically calling it a “Herculean effort.”
Change happens in numbers, and former and current Reed students undoubtedly have quantity on their side. A decision regarding a plan for the Reed banners is not likely to come down soon. The only result of the eight-person conversation was to wait.
This is the Raider family’s opportunity to do something other than send weightless 140-character messages on Twitter.
They had a chance on Thursday and chose to sit quietly. Maybe it’s symbolic of ‘that generation,’ which I affiliate myself with as a 24-year-old. Maybe they assume the issue will magically resolve itself. Maybe they just said things online to get attention from their friends with favorites and retweets.
I hope that isn’t the case. I hope there is more leadership and courage in the age group that is expected to contribute to society in less than a year in some cases–or is already contributing. I hope those who complained online do something.
Because Thursday’s performance, or lack thereof, was pathetic.