Has anyone else noticed the lack of concern around here? When it comes to the student body, it seems that we have been paralyzed with both fear and apathy. This year, we were heavily involved with Student Development as executive members of our Student Government Association and as resident assistants in Eagle and Gallup. Through these experiences, we have heard complaint after countless complaint about the rules and policies here at Eastern-whether it has to do with the lack of a student advocate union or better activities on campus.
There has been an obvious disconnect between the organizations that can actually make a difference (SGA and SAB) and the students who have complaints to make. Due to our positions in SGA and the residence life staff, we have been able to talk to many people who have a number of great ideas.
Unfortunately, these ideas never become a reality.
It appears that the students don’t care because they don’t feel that they can actually make a difference. Time after time we have reassured the students who come to us with concerns, sending them on their way with nothing more than an apology. Sadly, they know we can’t do anything more-and neither can they. People don’t run for SGA, and they don’t have any desire whatsoever to sign up for SAB because, in the words of one of their former members, “it’s a sham.”
The sham is that they don’t feel that they will be able to get anything accomplished. Having had to work closely with SAB as members of SGA, we saw the firm grasp that Student Development has on these two organizations. According to university policy, two events may not occur at the same time without the consent of each other; this means that there is absolutely no competition between campus activities. It is for this very reason that on any given Friday night, the only option for fun is movie marathons in your room. Or cookie decorating.
The Student Activities Board is far from being accountable to the students with its only check or balance being Student Development. And SGA is the same sob story. Formal recommendations for the betterment of student community pass through the senate but must first go through Student Development before they can go before President Black and the Board. And you can guess how far they usually get.
In light of the persistent glass ceiling students are coming up against, we are proposing that SGA and SAB be separated from Student Development. They need to be independent organizations that are closely linked to the Waltonian so that students might have a say as to what happens to and for them. They should be better informed as to what is happening and why. A non-student development staff member should be the advisor to both SGA and SAB. This would keep SGA and SAB accountable, but to the students instead of to Student Development.
We are thankful that we have staff members who want the best for us, who desire to foster community here and who want to keep us safe and happy, but we think that they can do better. For the most part, the betterment of EU’s community has become a power struggle. And we, the students, are the ones who are losing. If we are paying as much as we do to come here, we believe that we deserve to have our voices heard instead of our ideas and complaints falling on deaf ears.
It is obvious that Student Development has only the best of intentions, but we would like to see them realized. There is a level of excellence that EU is capable of meeting as a community, but there are barriers that are keeping this from happening. In Student Development’s mission statement, available on Eastern’s Web site for all to see, they say that, “our students receive an education that is liberating, one that demonstrates, through teaching and through community, the wonder of science, the splendor of art and the power of a redemptive relationship with God through a personal experience with Christ.”
This is not possible with the system currently in place. We are only asking that Student Development hold themselves to the standards that they hold us to.