Thursday, August 16, 2018

Students Voice Concerns to SGA to be Addressed with Board of Trustees late April

BEN GAMBUZZA ’20

NEWS EDITOR

The Student Government Association (SGA) held office hours last Tuesday April 3 for students to voice their concerns and recommendations regarding any facet of Trinity. The goal, stated in an April 1 email from SGA President Emily Claytor ’18, was to compile a list of “student grievances” to disseminate to the community and ultimately address at the Board of Trustees meeting at the end of this month. Today, those grievances were released to students, faculty, and staff by Ms. Claytor.

Frequent office hours are something that SGA hopes to incorporate more in the future, says Ms. Claytor, for they “have previously never really existed.” She says, “We will be editing our constitution in the next few weeks and plan to incorporate this into the language of the document.” The organization is still deciding whether to keep holding all-day office hours or have class years hold individual meeting times.

The Association organized students’ concerns in five overarching categories: on-campus facilities, student life, academics, administration, and future initiatives for SGA to pursue. Below is the list, compiled by SGA, of all comments voiced by the students.

 On-campus Facilities:

  • Students want to see change in the lack of student parking, as well as the quality of roads, especially outside of admissions.
  • Students believe laundry should be free. Each student should receive laundry dollars each year (except for Crescent townhouses) so that they do not need to spend their own money on laundry.
  • Students would like to see serious improvement in housing, specifically in bathrooms. There are serious mold, ventilation, and cleanliness issues as well as consistently broken facilities such as showers and toilets.
  • Students-athletes are frustrated with sharing field time. They are concerned that practicing on a “game” field is ruining its quality.
  • Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors should not be required to live on campus.

Student life:

  • It is wrong to separate people by not allowing them to eat at the cave or the bistro because they cannot pay $4000 a year.
  • Students would like to see a breakdown of where the money from the school’s budget goes. They feel that money should be spent on improvement in food, health, and campus safety rather than things such as new sports fields.
  • Students feel that it is unacceptable that Mather has a B rating for overall health.
  • Students want to see the quality of the gym improved drastically. Treadmills have been broken for the entire semester.
  • In general, the student body is extremely dissatisfied with the quality of Chartwells and would like to see major improvement in food quality as well as food options.
  • Students would like to see the price of textbooks shrink, and textbook aid grow. The library should have a few of every textbook on reserve so that students who cannot afford their textbooks don’t have to be left behind.
  • Students would like to see an improvement in the health insurance provided by Trinity. It is unfair to pay for insurance and still have to cover a hospital bill that the Trinity health center was not available/not qualified to treat. 

Academics:

  • Students would like to see more funding for the Arts department. If efforts are so focused on creating diversity in learning, there should be more funding in the arts.
  • Students would like to see academic training of professors to deal with uncomfortable situations and macroaggressions (do they mean micro?) in the classroom. Professors should also be available to check in after controversial topics or debates.
  • Students would like to see more diversity in professors, especially in STEM.
  • Students would like better advising.
  • Students would like more financial aid for J-Term Courses and summer courses.

Administration:

  • Students are concerned with the President’s lack of transparency and her priorities.
  • Students would like to see much more transparency with President Berger-Sweeney, and a possible reinstating of daily/weekly lunches/dinners in Mather.
  • Students are concerned with environmental sustainability; Trinity is by far the lowest of NESCAC schools.
  • Students are concerned that the administration is pushing to project an image of a different Trinity than we have historically been/perhaps still are.
  • Students feel that there are many issues on campus that need addressing but all the administration is focusing on is Hartford and trying to connect Trinity to Hartford.
  • Students would like to see a publicized endowment.
  • Students want administration to take responsibility and apologize accordingly for safety issues, and publicize and improve their emergency responses.
  • Students are worried that the administration does not respect SGA as a true representative body, and that SGA is not given any real power.
  • Boardwalk should not be demolished; the administration needs to take into account students opinions when making decisions about student housing.

SGA future Initiatives:

  • Be clearer in our role as representatives of the student body as well as continue to publicize current and future initiatives.
  • Publish the Student Activities Fund Budget.
  • Hold weekly office hours in the Library and during Dinner in Mather.
  • Publish weekly minutes to our Facebook page and to the Trinity Commons SGA website.
  • Demand more power and responsibility from the Administration as well as continuous involvement in:

    ·      The admissions process

    ·      School-wide decisions such as the commencement speaker choice, tour guide scripts, and meal plan decisions

    ·      Institutional advancement

    ·      Financial affairs 

    ·      Board of Trustees meetings

    ·      Presidential Cabinet meetings 

    ·      Sponsor semesterly SGA events where students, faculty, and staff can learn about SGA and bring any questions or concerns to us.

    ·      Bring Student concerns about the administration, on-campus facilities, academics, and student life to both the Board of Trustees and the Administration.

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