Last Monday, the Student Senate added a discussion on engineering fees to their agenda. They made a point to announce that they did not know many specifics.
The email giving details of the meeting arrived three minutes prior to the meeting’s opening. Student Senate said that the meeting was originally meant for an in-house, limited discussion and they did not mean for the email to go out with such short notice.
They specified that anyone going to the meeting for the discussion should not expect to get specific answers. The discussion was meant to take down questions and voice the students’ concerns to administration. Student Senate said that a link to the video of the meeting would hopefully be sent out afterwards.
One student came forward and presented several remarks compiled from other students. This individual has also started a petition on change.org that has garnered over 300 signatures. Some of the concerns he voiced were as follows:
Students were not made aware of the changes until March 5; there has been a lack of transparency. Students are continuously redirected to the roughly three pages of information available when they ask questions. There are no specific measures available to students; nowhere do they say where the money will be going, and there is no report on when courses will be offered to increase a four-year graduation rate.
Altogether, this individual believed that there was no reason to ask for additional money with no specifics available.
The student also said that the argument administration has put forward so far is that other schools are doing it. However, that does not mean it will work here. He said that the main thing about our university that attracts students is that we are affordable; therefore, this change could have larger impacts on enrollment. An additional 1,400 tuition dollars every academic year is no small number. Students are concerned that this fee targets specific majors. Also, the individual said that administration has not been able to guarantee that this funding would stay in the school of Engineering Math and Science (EMS), and he asked if students will be charged if they’re taking an EMS class but are not an EMS major.
The student did not want to leave without providing some possible solutions or ideas. He suggested a large-scale effort to collect student data and more transparency from administration. He asked that promises be made and kept, and insisted that he, as an individual representing a large number of EMS students, might be willing to give more if he knew more about the benefits and was given more time to prepare.
Student Senate wished to provide better answers but made it clear that they are mostly in the dark as well. They said that there should be up-coming question and answer sessions with administration.
There is a draft FAQ sheet in the works right now, but Student Senate has not gotten definitive answers back.