I have been inundated by so many fliers, petitions and groups on campus that I often want to just shut them all out. Most of the time, students do ignore their messages — sometimes for good reason. The Library Mall preachers and the socialist newspaper vendors fall along the same lines in some ways. However, among the grab bag of different political interests on campus, a few worthy and important causes are overlooked, simply because the groups scare off regular students. Let's take the Student Labor Action Coalition, for example. In recent memory, SLAC has supported the Teaching Assistants' Association 2004 strike, an increase in living wage for university workers and an eliminating of ties to Adidas due to its labor practices. The organization has worked tirelessly for the cause of unionization, workers' benefits and fair working conditions. So does the International Socialist Organization, but we're talking about reform, not revolution. SLAC genuinely wants to effect change where it is actually feasible to do so. I'm not saying SLAC hasn't been misguided at times. The idea of increasing university workers' wages to $10.23 was confusingly off base. Those who are actually living on minimum wage need it. Students trying to earn an extra buck for some CDs or a night with Goldschlager don't. SLAC made a bad move by pushing that increase for all students when it should be focusing on its more worthy campaign of proper treatment and benefits for limited-term employees of the university. The Adidas campaign, however, was right on. When UW identifies labor violations that have direct ties to the clothes we buy, action should be taken. Exploitation occurs at every step in society, but when we see an example of exploitation that we gain so little from, it becomes necessary to question it. This is what SLAC did and what this very newspaper followed up on. I expected the discussion to spread across campus. It has stagnated. SLAC has not attracted nearly as much attention to this issue as it would have liked. Administrators pretty much said, "We'll get back to you on that," and the students went on with other things. So why has SLAC's message failed to spark? It's not the message; it's how you say it. SLAC is pushing its message in a way that turns off students. You can feel the outrage coming from groups like SLAC, and they want you to be outraged too. However, not everyone is a political activist, and you can't ask a person to become one when an injustice occurs. It happens everyday, and people still move on. SLAC has failed to show students why they should care. Not because its arguments have no merit, but because its message is wrapped in well-argued packaging with a bow of sensationalism on top. For example, SLAC's website has a section on limited-term employment at UW. The website gives an explanation of the LTE positions, why people take the jobs, what the problem is and why they want change. Links are provided to newspaper articles written on the subject as well. Yet, all of that is negated by the top of the page, which screams "Stop Temp Slavery," with two workers placing their fists in the air, symbolic of some sort of revolt. To compare temporary workers to slaves is an association that rightly turns off the average citizen. The issues are valid, and the argument is valid, but the heavily exposed emotion behind it damages the efforts. Protests, fliers and strongly worded letters are fine and dandy, but no one responds to them anymore. SLAC is not an extremist organization, nor is its leader some sort of renegade; he is an elected official. However, when someone reduces any demand for change to stop [insert injustice] now, the average student can't make it out from any other grassroots campaign on campus. You must explain yourself and your position and gain support through rational explanation, rather than bombard students with demands. Hold forums, debates, information sessions, dorm-wide town-hall meetings to get the point across. Don't tell students to act; teach them to. Don't demand that administrators choose scenarios; persuade them. Force is best suited to those in power; persuasion is the often-unused tool of the masses. SLAC needs to be convinced that working with the system to achieve progress is something within grasp. Compare SLAC to the Campus Anti-War Network. It has to use the methods of protest and sit-ins to make its point because of the grand scope of its mission. It hasn't the legitimacy to evaluate the Iraq War or create change. Therefore, it has to use emotion and radical methods to effect change. SLAC is a somewhat legitimate group on campus. It can cement that distinction, but must first drop the pseudo-radical rhetoric and demanding tone. People will find the information, as long as you don't shove it in their faces. Jason Smathers ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in history and journalism.