I’ve always been the kind of person to confront things that I think are unjust head on. When I was little, I would run around in my fluffy party dresses pushing down kids who were bullying others. I even spit orange juice onto a birthday boy’s suit because he was being mean to his guests. It’s not because I had a mean streak or enjoyed violence, but rather I had no other ideas (or language skills- I was 4) to get the bullies to stop what they were doing.
As I’ve grown older my actions have changed. I’ve become the type of person who will relentlessly try to educate people on why something is bad, or why it’s hurting someone else. Past the days of pushing down bullies, I’ve come up with new (and probably more gentler) approaches. But as I’ve entered college it’s a bit harder to see where the lines between good and bad are. A lot of it falls into ambiguity, and it’s harder to really see where you, or others, stand.
But one thing I am sure about is that Professor Bridget Nolan deserves some stability in her life, which correlates to her position here at BMC. I’ve talked about her before- she’s one of my favorite professors, you need to take a class with her, etc. etc. etc. This may be her last term teaching her, and I don’t want to let her go without some sort of effort done on my part to prevent it.
Granted, it’s harder now. I’m not fighting school yard bullies for my crying peers. I’m engaging with a group of people who want to keep her, but can’t seem to make the financial decision to extend her contact from one year to three years. Having talked to a lot of people in power, I have to leave some questions unanswered for you. But it seems to myself and others that a viable option has been made for it to work out for both the institution and Professor Nolan. It’s sad because I know that I’m missing some information, some things are withheld from me, and so forth, but the student body is coming together to beg the administration for Nolan to be kept here, at her home. And they seem to be listening, but they don’t seem to be acting on it.
It’s hard because I recognize that they aren’t trying to be the school yard tormentor. They’re trying to make decision that they think are best for the institution. But the choices they make are still directly impacting the lives of their undergraduates, as well as their faculty/staff. By continuously offering her a one year contract they’re perpetuating the systematic issues of hiring Professors repeatedly on one year contracts offering them no upward mobility within academia or within their respective fields. I also recognize that I am an outsider to this process as a student, but as someone who is directly benefiting from this institution, and hopes one day to be in academia, I think that active change needs to take place. It can happen, but we just need an institution to take a leap of faith. And I think that leap of faith should be with Professor Nolan, who has proven time and time again that she is a leader and a mentor inside and outside of the classroom.
It’s disheartening as a senior to have so much love for who I have become here, but so much disappointment in the structures that prevent amazing people like Professor Nolan any sort of support.