Town Meeting 1 vs. 2
Once you lose control of an already hostile audience, you have very little hope of
regaining it to the fullest extent. This, compiled with the fact that the class got a bit
obnoxious and slap-happy (trying to be comical,) along with the lack of expertise of the
panel and the high risk perception of each student led to a very ineffective town meeting.
As a starting point, the panel’s opening was less than comforting. The classroom
set up seemed a poor choice, as this was not an informative session, but was supposed to
be a student forum of discussion, and a circle of chairs may have been more appropriate.
Even while the “expert” panelists in the previous town meeting took control of the
meeting and taught more that discussed, they had
placed us in a circle fashion to
show involvement and the importance of each individual’s presence.
The panelist who spoke first immediately stated the panel’s lack of knowledge
and power, but didn’t state what the point of the meeting was going to be. She was
speaking very unassertively, and did not discuss any credibility, where as the previous
town meeting had doctors on the panel. Although these organizers were not supposed to
have immediate knowledge of the subject through professional relations, they could have
explained their expertise as an organization that mediates between students and
administrators. For instance, they could have discussed previous situations in which they
rallied students together for a cause and successfully created a change in Cornell’s
administrative policies on that issue. Additionally, they could have explained that their
fears led them to research the topic, or that as a proactive group they’ve been following
the subject for a while now. Additionally, for more credibility, they could have been citing
reputable sources all throughout their presentation.
Furthermore, by denying questions throughout, they acted against themselves in
multiple ways. First and foremost, it’s simply angering the audience and insulting them,
as if their concerns didn’t matter. Additionally, if the panel truly wanted others to feel as
though they were all on the same side and all students
the matter in order to
come up with a viable plan of action,
then they should have showed more