Bring Reasoning, Leave the Emotions


by Macy Koch

With the year quickly on its way, lots of changes and decisions are happening all over campus. I’d be naïve to say that students agree with every one of these, and I’d also be forgetting the complaints that I receive about decisions on campus weekly.

However, there is a fine line between a complaint and an uneducated statement that was written in seconds calling something “stupid.” As my friend Ryan Franker would say, “use your words.” I hope that as students of a liberal arts college you’d have more in your vocabulary to express your unhappiness, and if not, I feel sorry for anyone who will have to argue with you the rest of your life.

Leave your feelings out of the statement and insert your knowledge instead. Here are my tips to writing the most effective, and tactful, complaint:

Step one: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t write a complaint about something you heard about in the cafeteria from a friend without checking to make sure it’s true. Also, don’t ask for the reasoning behind a decision, when most likely, you can find that somewhere. Just like when you show up for an interview, having done research before is extremely impressive and makes you more credible, and your argument more sound.

Step two: EXPRESS YOUR COMPLAINT. This may seem silly, and obvious, but you’d be surprised how many comments I’ll receive that don’t clearly state what the person is dissatisfied with. I’m not a mind reader, along with most people, and what may seem like an obvious problem in the decision might not be as apparent to me, or the decision making body.

Step three: SHOW YOUR REASONING. This is the most important step. If you’re unhappy with food in a restaurant, leaving a comment that the spaghetti was bad will not help the chef. Leaving a comment that there was too much garlic in the sauce, WILL help the chef. Reasoning is the key to getting sauce to change in a restaurant, and the key to getting decisions to change on campus. Change may not always happen, but you can bet that the chef went back to test the sauce, either way.

Step four: BACK UP YOUR COMPLAINT. If you feel strongly in your complaint, than you should be able to leave your name and contact information. If you don’t, not only will they be unable to contact your for further information, but they also won’t be able to notify you if they do rectify a decision. It’s a bold unspoken statement that says you’ll support your complaint even if you are addressed. Trust me folks, just do it.

Step five: PROOF READ. If you have curse words, remove them. If you have the word “stupid” remove it. If you use bad grammar, fix it.

And this should be obvious, but check the spelling of the name you’re sending it to. My name is Macy, not Mary.