The Students’ Association is on the right track in sorting through student opinion for campus improvements, but it must be careful to recognize what is valid criticism and what is nothing more than post-adolescent whining.
Upon reviewing some of the suggestions SA received from its student surveys this month, we find three categories of ideas.
The first is the smart, potentially effective idea. Pushing for the opening of another cafŽ on campus, especially on the west side, is especially timely considering the success of both the Connections and Fatted cafŽs.
Likewise, an accurate sampling of student opinion on this year’s Chapel is badly needed. As is an SA bulletin board, better campus lighting and an SBC endowment. All are well within SA jurisdiction and would help make the university more palatable for administration and students.
The second group of ideas are those that are well conceived but not well thought out.
The university has already cut $1 million from its operating budget. The likelihood of SA getting funding of any kind for an additional stop sign, for meal plan concessions, for a new jogging track, for departmental budget increases is highly unlikely.
Of course, SA itself could pay for many of these suggested improvements, but the Advocacy Request Fund has only $3,000. Considering the financial disaster that was last year’s session, Congress members would be wise to think carefully before overextending the budget before Thanksgiving.
The third group is by far the most frustrating: those ideas that are poorly conceived, irresponsible or illogical.
Congress has been asked to waste its time researching the new Chapel policies, the university’s Pepsi deal, textbook prices, parking spaces and the cost of living at University Park apartments.
All these issues have been discussed both in these pages and in Congress ad nauseum. Many of them are irrelevant-ACU has no control over UP and textbook prices, for example. Others are self-evident-the Pepsi contract and the Chapel probation policy have both been explained in this paper. As has the fact that the university has enough parking spaces for the number of stickers it has issued.
Other suggestions sound more like whining: for example, the closed access to the McKinzie Hall roof, classes in the library computer labs, Chapel announcements, residence hall sign-out policy and Bean Sprout hours.
The ball is now in SA’s court. President Jeremy Smith has based his administration on serving the students, and a failure in this area makes a mockery of his agenda.
Smith must make sure Congress focuses on solid, smart, feasible ideas that he can present to the administration. Anything less could be disastrous to SA’s relevance on this campus.