Andrew Breland is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), majoring in political science and English while simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in political science. Andrew is the president of CWRU’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter and is a columnist for the The Observer, the university’s student newspaper. He has previously interned in the office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman.
On coming to FIRE, Andrew writes:
In September of my junior year, I published a column in our student newspaper that garnered attention from all corners of the university. Titled “Things Tour Guides Don’t Tell You,” it revealed some of the half-truths and outright lies university tour guides told prospective students in pursuit of a larger freshman class—things I had been instructed to tell families while employed in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Eventually, the administration responded to the allegations I raised. The reaction was unpleasant.
While support from students and professors poured in over social media and in classrooms, university administrators demanded meetings and instructed me to stop writing negative articles about the university. I found myself in front of university presidents and provosts defending my actions and arguing that I had a right to express my views. The pressure subsided as more individuals came to my defense, including several emeritus and current professors. I quit my job as a tour guide and began writing more frequently, never erring in my approach to improve the university through open criticism and debate. Still, the university administration continues to chastise my work, an action I welcome as evidence of its continued impact.
I came to FIRE this summer to support students on campuses that lack the kind of assistance I received from mine. Whereas professors and friends came to my defense, I am well aware that other students do not have the same luxuries. Whereas my university’s administration was quick to back off in face of bad publicity, other colleges will not do the same. The right to express freely one’s views and criticisms is fundamental to education and I hope that my efforts make that reality possible for more students.
Welcome, Andrew! Be sure to check back on The Torch this week to see more from our new interns!