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Less conflict, more convo

February 15, 2013

I chose Monmouth partly due to the beautiful campus, partly due to scholarships but mostly due to the fact that I was told I’m “not just a number.” All of this has lived up to my expectations so far, and I’m grateful for it.

What I do not appreciate, however, is how MC students and MC administrators keep butting heads like kids (baby goats); it is not how I imagine college is “meant to be.”

Namely, I’m against how the students are receiving conflicting messages from administration. On one hand, we are told that we, as liberal arts students, are the future innovators and great thinkers. On the other, we are continually left out of the loop on several policies that directly affect us and future students. This implies that we are incapable of offering valid opinions and solutions.

Administration is important for every school, and I’m not going to speak for administrators as I am sure I would be wildly off mark. I’m going to speak from what I think, as a student, and what I have seen and heard from other students.

The main goal of this college is to teach us to be innovators, to learn how to examine problems and procure solutions, but outside of class work and extracurricular activities, we are rarely afforded the opportunity to face real-world problems close to home.

Examples I can think of off the top of my head are the decreasing number of rides offered by security and taking the liberal arts out of MC’s brochures.
Around the start of the new term, an email was sent out informing people that security rides are no longer an option. No explanation was widely known until a Courier reporter investigated. Students were confused and frustrated, and even when they found out why, they were still upset. While some responsibility does lie with students in not abusing the privilege, I can understand their concern. Walking alone on dimly-lit city streets at night, several blocks from campus, should not be dismissed as trifling.

Foot escorts sound like a nuisance to security and students alike. It’s another example where I feel like an open forum would come in handy to find a middle ground so that security does not use all of their budget on gas, and students are not left out in the cold (sometimes literally).

I also realized many students had a problem with administration taking the liberal arts out of MC brochures. Liberal arts is a keystone for MC, and honestly, it’s the reason I am most proud of attending college here; the college does an excellent job of interpreting them in its curriculum and explaining it to its students. I feel like the removal of it from brochures, because its language is considered too “elevated,” is not just insulting to prospective students but it broadcasts the wrong message about what kind of students MC wants to recruit, but it is also insulting to current students.

Even if the policy change was not taking out the “liberal arts,” no one understands the education MC is giving better than its students; getting student input on brochures and other recruitment material could only be beneficial.

While I understand that some decisions are best left to administration alone, the above ones were decisions I feel students’ voices should have been heard. Some issues still offer the chance for student involvement. A possible option is having ASMC (student senate) hear and, most importantly, have a vote on certain decisions. It would offer a chance to bridge the knowledge gap that often occurs with a new policy, while also giving student senators a chance to be active in pressing decisions that affect the student body.

An example where this policy has come into effect and has received good feedback (from students anyway) is when the Registrar, besides looking at traditional designs, worked in student critiques from ASMC on new diploma ideas. Since students are the ones who receive diplomas, it makes sense to ask for their input on a new design; security rides and recruitment strategies could also benefit from this strategy.

Doing so would help administration and the student body come to more peaceful and productive terms. Students could take their lessons on critical thinking, a key component of their MC education, and put them to use in a practical way that would only further prepare them for when the real world beckons.

Cassie Burton
News Editor

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