OSU Student leaders deserve to be visible, available for others to find

Max Patterson, guest column

If you were at the town hall on Monday, February 29th; you would have probably been sitting front and center. Being there was intimate, for our standards, having no access to the sixth floor of Kerr hall without a special key code.

The town Hall event was a good dialogue for members of the community but you probably didn’t see it because you were sitting front and center in a dialogue with Ed Ray, in a nice big open space with calm lighting. Earlier in the day I saw Ed and Sabah as they wandered the MU concourse into the Journey Room, twenty minutes later a stream of professional staff appeared for what was an informational meeting, about what I don’t know. Ed had a long day of posturing, public relations and time in front of the spotlights and very close, very endearing, public scrutiny.

What wasn’t appreciated, amongst Ed’s self-deprecating referral to himself as potentially being a dope, or stupid, was when a paisley tied gentleman from the fourth row spotted the Gazette-Times reporter in the front corner of the room snapping pictures of the event. Now I understand our anonymity as student leaders, as ASOSU representatives is significant.

Most people attending probably didn’t catch sight of it. The paisley-tied man, spotting his opportunity, saw the Gazette-Times reporter walking to the back of the room from the front of the room. He got from his seat and grabbed the reporter, escorting him to the hall. Ten minutes later they both came back into room 128 of the LInC and nobody was the wiser. Until someone who had walked in five minutes late and sat in the back row spoke up to attest to what had happened, what had been seen. We had been represented, certainly the Gazette-Times reporter startled, and he left with his cameras about 10 minutes after taking some more pictures of President Ray, and none more of the crowd.

I’m not saying anyone here is in the right nor are they in the wrong, but what I saw maybe could have been forgotten. The man in the paisley tie said he had asked the reporter to ask for the crowds’ permission prior to posting photos publicly—all attention on Ed.

I’ll say now to membership of the media, to the Gazette-Times, the Corvallis Advocate and the Orange Media Network: Take my picture and show that I’m a leader of the community to be sought. Without my face in the media there won’t be a way to connect our leaders with our community. Members of the community: ensure you’re are heard in earnest, get to the events attended by OSU’s Kerr Building Representatives, don’t let the men in paisley ties influence whose faces end in the media.

Representation in the media is a powerful tool for community action organizing. It’s reasonable that the newspaper would include a picture of our leader, Ed Ray. It’s also reasonable for the media to include the real reason for the holding of the meeting, mis- and under- representation of minority groups on campus and in the community.

We’re in the process of building a new order, a new batch of leadership at the University that is equitable and accessible, capable and committed.

We’re certainly busy at work finding causes to advocate for, without our names and faces visible—who will be able to find leaders when we’re needed?

I’m not worried about my safety. I think we’ve moved passed the point of public violence against community leadership—at least in our humble burg of Corvallis.

But if it were to come down to it, this gay boy would be a martyr for a cause I believe in. I already have been once.

Max Patterson is a student studying political science at Oregon State University and a guest columnist for the Daily Barometer.

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