Recipients of the Companion of the Centre award are often role models for students in the diaconal ministry program of the Centre for Christian Studies. This is not necessarily a good thing.
At part of last weekend’s celebrations, students in the Educational & Liturgical Ministry learning circle sat down with new Companion of the Centre, Linda Ervin, to hear about her life of diaconal connections and convictions. Linda regaled them with tales of justice-seeking and social activism. And then she dropped the bombshell: As a CCS student in the 1970s, Linda organized a student strike.
“We wanted changes to the program,” Linda recalled. “Some of the teacher’s had lecture notes that hadn’t been updated in years. The paper was yellowed. So we went on strike and refused to go to class until we saw some change.”
The current students were so inspired by Linda’s example that they’ve decided to stage a strike of their own, resulting in the cancellation of the remainder of the spring learning circle, originally scheduled to run until this Thursday.
“We appreciate everything that CCS program staff do for us, but we feel we have to take a stand,” says student rep Lisa Byer de Wever.
“When Linda mentioned the recycled lecture notes that were yellowed with age, we all realized … we want that. The CCS program staff are creative and inventive – always coming up with new materials and different approaches. And it’s exhausting.”
“Just once I’d like to hear Janet deliver a canned lecture in a dry monotonous drone,” says student Meghan Witzel. “I could really use the nap time, and it’s hard to sleep when she keeps sucking us in with inventive activities and engaging discussions.”
The striking students complain that the program staff set an unfair standard of high-quality education. “When it comes to student-leds, it can be daunting. I’m not saying David and Janet should do a half-assed job,” says student Melanie Ihmels. “But would three-quarter-assed kill them?”
CCS student, and former 80s glam rocker, John Helps called on CCS program staff to repent their commitment using drama and role plays.
“I don’t really understand what they want from us,” says a befuddled David Lappano.
The student strike begins today, Saturday, April 1st, and will continue until …
“Well, to be honest, we haven’t completely thought that through,” admits Lisa Byer de Wever. “But that’s the point. Do we always have to think everything through??”