SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian assembled a student advisory group with 15 to 18 students as a way for him and the administration to learn about SUNY New Paltz and keep in touch with students needs and interests.
The students on this group will include a diverse group including non-traditional students, transfer students and athletes. They will be speaking to the administration about their experience at SUNY New Paltz. While we at The New Paltz Oracle applaud the administration for branching out to different kinds of students, we hope the students who are on the group take advantage of this opportunity and voice their concerns about important issues.
We are in support of the creation of this group and are happy to see administrators are interested in getting views from a good cross-section of the campus.
Last semester students felt as if there wasn’t a direct line of communication between students and the administration about budgetary issues. They were also disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of student representation in administrative decisions. This led to walk-out teach-ins led and by frustrated students. It’s a good thing that the administration saw this and decided to create a group that won’t keep students in the dark when it comes to concerns.
Although Christian doesn’t want the members of the student advisory group to feel pressured to carry a message or feel as if they’re representing a particular group, these students must keep in mind that they are representing the student body. Although the they don’t have governing power like the Student Association or Residence Hall Student Association, it is of paramount importance that they bring forth concerns and issues that can possibly encroach on our higher education (or affect our higher education). We hope these students take advantage of this opportunity.
With this variety of student representation, we will hopefully be better represented at these administrative meetings. Hopefully we won’t have to resort to another walk-out/teach-in.
Christian assembled the student advisory group by asking vice presidents and directors to come forward with suggestions for names. It is likely that many of the students that were selected to be on the advisory board were students who stood out and are very active and visible on campus.
We feel like many students who didn’t get picked to be on this student advisory group, who are not visible on campus, who are in the shadows or in the periphery, were ignored even though they tend to be the ones with the most complaints. Nevertheless, we hope Christian follows through with whatever concerns the student advisory group might bring up during these meetings and update them on how the administration is working on those issues.
We wish that plans for a student advisory group to the president was publicized more and that students had the opportunity to vouch for themselves. There should’ve been some sort of application process that allowed students who want to be involved with a group like this the opportunity to do so. While we understand that Christian needs to get people who will be constant and attend, we don’t want students to be forgotten.