In the past, I’ve been a bit harsh to Southern Nazarene University. I don’t get along with some of the faculty, or agree with every policy the school has put in place. Recently when I brought up a specific concern, I was met with a response that was essentially, “If you don’t like SNU, then leave.”
Allow me to clarify: I love SNU. I really do. The class sizes are perfect for me. I love the fact that the campus is so community oriented and relationship driven. I love the available mental health services, and the fact that most of the faculty seems to care so much for the students. This school is academically excellent. The campus feels safe. SNU is a college the Nazarene Church should be proud of.
I went to elementary through high school across the street at Bethany Public Schools. Both of my parents attended SNU. My mom used to be on staff here, and my father has been on the faculty for 25 years. When I was born, SNU sent a “Class of 20XX” onesie to my parents. This was always going to be my school.
That being said, I’m under no illusion that this school is perfect. The food is not so great. The power goes out every few months. Sometimes there are wasp infestations. It bothers some of us that SNU requested and received a Title IX exemption, and it feels to many that the recent racial tension was not fully addressed. SNU is not a perfect school.
We need to keep in mind when confronted with these issues, that it’s okay to be critical of the things that you love. Personally, I love Quentin Tarantino movies, but I can recognize that the violence is gratuitous and the racial slurs are unnecessary. Loving something does not mean that you have to forgive it of all it’s flaws. It means that when you see a problem, you have a reason to want it fixed.
I love SNU not only for everything that it is, but for everything that it has the opportunity to be. I want the school I’m a part of to reach its every potential. The only way that gets accomplished is if the students and faculty, who love being a part of this school, decide that they want it to be even better.
As for the request that I leave, I feel it’d be more productive to say, “If you don’t like SNU, stay.” Change is made by those who show up, and leaving won’t accomplish anything on this campus. As we reach the last week of the school year, I feel it’s important to remember that change isn’t always fast or immediately visible, but it’s still important for growth.