On Friday, Oct. 20, the Student Center was abuzz as if preparing for a head of state to visit (…) Although in reality, it was just our university’s president. In the office where I work, our day was interrupted twice with cabinet level officials reporting on the updated location of Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban and that he and his wife were expected to stop by “any minute now.”
The visit was underwhelming and brief. Our President did not ask any questions about the work of our office, did not ask any personal questions of student employees such as “what are you studying?” or basic questions of our staff like “how long have you been here?” He did not seem interested.
I find it disheartening that our president would choose to fly through our Student Center on a Friday — a day that traditionally has the lightest presence of students. I find it appalling that we got mere moments of his distracted time. I was puzzled by the presence of his wife — I was unaware our university sponsored “Bring Your Spouse to Work Day” (but please let us know when the next one is scheduled).
Mr. President, as a student at DePaul I was disgusted that I was made to be a part of a dog and pony show. We are your students — the life-blood of this university. We deserve more than a token visit. You have been here since July and this was the first time I’ve seen you. Please step out of your office more often and engage with us. Drop by the Student Center cafeteria on a Tuesday at lunch and take time to get to know your students: our successes, concerns and struggles. Please visit our offices more regularly. There’s no need to announce your visit in advance. Our important work and the way we do business doesn’t change just because you, or any other university official, stops by.
An opportunity for genuine engagement was lost on Friday. Don’t allow this to continue to be the tone you set during your time as president.
Your graduate student and Student Affairs student employee.
(*Name withheld at the request of student)