Committee to provide listening post to voice student concerns on campus

Caroline Lautenbacher

The Student Quality Advisory Committee will offer students a chance to have their concerns heard sometime this semester.

“The listening post is a great opportunity for students to connect to the university,” LuWanda Higgins, the committee’s program coordinator, said. “They can voice concerns on the areas they are pleased with and also the areas needing additional resolutions on campus.”

Since the mid-’90s, students have been able to voice their concerns around campus through the committee’s listening post, she said.

Committee chair Dennis Boyd said there isn’t a set date for the listening post yet, but it will most likely be held in mid-morning or late afternoon. The location changes to allow more availability.

Students can fill out an intake form stating their question or concern, name, address, e-mail and phone number, and put it in the box. From there the concern or question can go in one or two ways, Boyd said.

“We ask the students’ permission to pass their e-mail along and generally address the person responsible for the division or office that the concern comes from,” he said. “Or we would take the issue and talk to the specific person it deals with and then e-mail the student back.”

Boyd said generally they deal with three big issues: campus life, such as smoking bans; parking and bus services; the plus-minus system and class availability.

“We have seen issues in the past that have led to huge, violent, bitter debates about parking issues and more,” he said. “Student opinion is so huge. It is hard to target one issue.”

In 2005, the listening post received about 50 to 60 student opinions. But when the listening post was moved from Tri-Towers to the Student Center, they would bring in about 50 to 100 concerns, Boyd said.

“The intent is to be very simple,” Higgins said. “This is very important to the enhancement of communication in the university.”

The listening post can help student-faculty relations, but students can also take care of the situation themselves, Boyd said.

“Many students feel division between the faculty/staff and the students,” he said. “Most students aren’t aware that there isn’t a division between them, and they can walk right up to them and approach them with an issue.”

The listening post so far has been taken to the Stark, Geauga and Kent campuses, Higgins said. It is the committee’s intention to have them at all eight access points, she said.

“We make it clear that we are not going to ignore the concerns,” Boyd said. “More students should utilize it. It’s not like a comment box where the comment gets pushed aside and never looked at. We address it right away.”

Students interested in participating in the committee or with the listening post can contact Dennis Boyd at [email protected].

Contact student affairs reporter Caroline Lautenbacher at [email protected].