For the past few weeks, the one thing that every undergrad at Eastman knows about is an article that was published by a fellow student about the student housing situation; if you’re are one who hasn’t read the article yet, you can read it here.
In my personal opinion, I believe that the article is well written, and doesn’t aim to make a statement about Eastman. I think the purpose is to simply educate different housing systems in colleges. We are required to live on campus, in the Student Living Center (SLC), until junior year. Freshman year, undergrads live with a roommate and are required to have the most expensive meal plan. For sophomore and junior year, the students get singles, however, they still must share the bathroom with the entire hall, and are required to pay for a meal plan.
Like most things in the world, the main cause of this problem is money. Everyone needs money to live the life they want. Money has a huge effect on people and the life they choose to have. Eastman wants to keep students in the SLC because it creates a bond with the students, which is true. Living in close proximity of other people, creates and requires communication.
Say what you will with the political side of things. I am not writing this blog post to tell others what I feel about the living situation. This is a blog post to describe how this relates to the idea of deliberative democracy.
My point in writing this blog post is to talk about Benhabib. Benhabib often agrees with Carl Schmitt in that the best way of running a democracy is to create a community with free and open discussion. Benhabib adds that, as well as having free and open discussion, it is equally important to have deliberative debate. In her opinion, it is important to allow the people to communicate with the higher ups about how they feel with certain laws or requirements in their society.
Since the article has circulated, I’ve wondered what Benhabib would do in this situation? Would she call for immediate action? Would she research the problem and dig deep? What would she say to the students who want to change something at their college? I definitely believe that this situation, students vs. people who are in charge of the housing system at Eastman, should host a discussion directly. There should be a direct link between the students and the higher ups. This problem has been created because lack of communication. I feel if we create a scenario where the higher ups had a chance to listen to the students, the end result would be a positive one. I also think this idea works in the other way. If the students had the chance to listen what the higher ups believe, There would be a better understanding on where the problem is arising from. Even though Benhabib writes about a government, we can trace her argument to this situation at Eastman. Imagine the outcome if both sides took sometime to understand where each other is coming from.