Students Voice Wide Range of Concerns in Open Dialogue at SGA Meeting
BY MATT MCCORMACK
SENIOR STAFF WRITER/TRANSLATOR
In an open dialogue at an SGA meeting earlier this month, students voiced concerns about the housing selection process, lack of communication in the search for the new Dean of Student Life, car break-ins, technology problems and tenured professors.
Students at the meeting expressed a lack of understanding about the housing selection process, pointing out that some students with lower GPAs had higher housing selection numbers than students with higher GPAs.
According to Jackie Weber, director of residential life, a student’s housing number is based on both academic record and longevity at Westminster. The equation for how each student receives a number is not disclosed due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If the equation that Residential and Greek Life created with I.T. were released, students may be able to figure out the process of the equation and access personal student information.
Students at the meeting were also unsure if study abroad credits get applied to the number of credit hours taken. When The Columns spoke with Weber, she explained it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the registrar has all transfer or study abroad transcripts before the selection process begins in the spring. If a student is studying abroad for a full year, they must ask the institution to send their fall transcript to Westminster.
Weber said she is open to suggestions on how to improve the process and recommends students attend the housing information meeting that takes place every year a week or two before the housing process opens to students.
Students said confusion also exists in the search for the new Vice President and Dean of Student Life. Attendees at the meeting said they want to have a better understanding of what the process entails for the selection. While President Akande recently sent an email updating the campus on the search, students said they wanted to know more about the process going forward.
Another concern students raised was car break-ins on campus, but when The Columns investigated the concern, security said it was unaware of the issue and that there were no reports of vehicles being broken into this semester.
SGA and Jack Benke, director of campus security, both recommended that students notify campus security immediately if their car has been broken into.
As the conversation continued, students expressed concerns with broken computers in the PC lab and the MAC lab in the library’s hazel wing and Wi-Fi not working in rooms.
In response to the concern about Wi-Fi, SGA President Zach Stafford, ’17, said the connection will be updated in the fall, so the campus can stream content such at Netflix with no issues.
Concerns about tenured professors were also brought to SGA in the open dialogue. Students said that some tenured professors only advise students to make a visit to the tutor instead of helping the students themselves.
Students said it was problematic that students having issues do not wish to bring them to the administration.
Following the open dialogue, SGA discussed changes that may come to the general education system, such as reducing the required number of credit hours for tier requirements and having more themes of categories offered to fit students’ interest. However, it is currently not known when these changes may take place.