TU’s smoke signals are losing effectiveness. graphic by Emma Palmer

Signals from admin up in smoke

Honestly, only the pope should smoke.

In the wake of Clancy temporarily stepping down as president of the University of Tulsa citing health concerns, the student body of the university was left in the dark. But this wasn’t on purpose. After further investigation, it became clear to me that there was an obvious miscommunication. Somehow the scarlet plume of smoke that was supposed to rise from Collins to symbolize the shift of power — not to be confused with the magenta or maroon plumes symbolizing a men’s basketball and women’s rowing win respectively — was lost in the dramatic weather we had last Friday.

With our current smoke signal communication strategy, some things just get lost in the mix. Especially if you happen to have class at one of the 17 times a day announcements are made or misplace your single-issue communications flow chart broken down by day, time and mood of the individual, never mind if something is trying to be communicated during Holi or on the weekends. It’s also almost impossible for colorblind (or actually blind) students to know what’s going on, but CSAS has not found a good solution to this problem yet.

Last week’s unprecedented communication flaw (Oklahoma’s weather is normally pretty tame) has left students wondering: is there a simpler way for the administration to let the students know about important things? Because with their current approach, it’s almost like the university doesn’t want to tell us things, and that’s frankly ridiculous. The University of Tulsa is a completely transparent institution that works to make sure all students have a say in the direction the university is going.

So, to help the administration in their decision process, I have several suggestions on new ways to convey the same information. In our current announcement system, red and blue smoke at 11:12 a.m. is used to convey that all students should check Harvey for a survey from SA. However, this could be conveyed more simply by having the president of SA send a campus-wide email advertising their own personal agenda with a single line at the bottom about the survey. In a similar vein, the yellow smoke every Tuesday reminding students about the BCM’s lunch could be reflected by abstract chalk art in front of every third academic building. Finally, the literal gold smoke that is used when TU wins a football game could be replaced by a victory parade led by the marching band and football team the day after the game (in the afternoon, so everyone is awake).

With the unnecessary complexity of our current system, something has to change. Students should not have to learn about Clancy stepping down as president of the university from social media or other news sources. They should hear it from the administration themselves, and with the unfortunate wind on Friday, current students didn’t have that opportunity, and that leaves the administration as opaque as the smoke it uses to inform students.

Post Author: tucollegian