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Editorial: Students need their voices heard

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 15:02

Loyola is in the midst of pivotal reform that will determine the fate of our university. Sacrifices are being made. We believe that everyone has a responsibility to be transparent and receptive during budget reductions.

From our point of view — as students especially invested in the university’s reformative actions ­­— it is hard to keep cuts and layoffs in perspective. Considering the small size of Loyola, we are feeling the resonating effects of recent changes as we feel the university shrinking beneath our feet.

With professors taking severance packages and others not having their contracts renewed, students are affected in a big way. Classes are sacrificed. Bonds students have made with their professors over the years make it very difficult to watch our university let people walk out the door.

With the information that has been relayed to us thus far, we don’t know which of our beloved professors will lose their contracts at the end of this year, and we don’t even know which colleges specifically may see their faculty leave more than others. While we understand that this is sensitive, even to most engaged students it doesn’t feel like the “big picture” has been effectively revealed by administration. Students want to know the factors that the administration is considering while looking at ways to clear the bill, and rightfully so.

When the first cuts and reductions were made in December, students expressed — in letters and on social media — that they were shocked and confused about recent changes.

Cissy Petty, vice president for student affairs and associate provost, said that administrators have chosen the Student Government Association as their top resource for student voices and as their sole outlet for relaying information. We believe that students feeling excluded from the cutting processes is largely due to this choice.

The theater students’ demonstration exemplifies the frustration we are feeling and should be a clear message to SGA that they have not been open enough with students. This should also be a sign to administration that their outlet is obviously not passing information along effectively. If administration is willing to be open and receptive with their budget reductions, we need SGA to take a larger school-wide initiative to make sure that students from outside of their office have their voices heard.

The relationship between The Maroon and SGA needs to mend itself into a joint effort toward making sure that students don’t feel like they are not involved in these difficult budget decisions. The Maroon has a responsibility to act as a megaphone for student voices just as it can be a megaphone for SGA to explain what has been discussed in the vice president and provost meetings.

We call for administrators to consider additional organizations rather than just relying on SGA as a communicative channel. The fact that the SGA has attempted to remove its own vice president from office is another signifier that they may not be unified or organized enough to fulfill the role administration has given them.

We want to honestly and frevolently work towards our mission “for a greater Loyola.”

We call for SGA to work with The Maroon transparently. We are not simply members of a large and powerful campus organizations, we are students.

We call for all students to attend SGA Senate meetings on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in the Audubon Room of the Danna Student Center. At these meetings, students can be sure that their opinions are directly heard by representatives.

We call for students to take the time to fill out Student Satisfactory Inventory surveys we’ve received in emails. Petty confirmed with us that she and her team review these surveys as they consider possible cuts.

From the students’ point of view, we have applied, auditioned, worked and paid a great sum for the full program and curriculum experience.

We demand that administration improve their outreach efforts. We demand that SGA turn up the volume of their megaphone and begin to see us as an asset rather than an enemy. We demand that if students claim to want more proactive accesses to budget considerations, that they get out and use both SGA, and The Maroon as channels received by administration.

Together, we can make these sacrifices as transparent and painless as possible.

The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board. 

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