This archived article was written by: Les Bowen
President Ryan Thomas told faculty two weeks ago that the college’s primary focus should be “a deep and genuine concern over enhancing students lives.” Thomas is exactly right. The college is a business, and its students are its clientele.
Students need a voice. Unfortunately the voice they have is not heard. ASCEU leadership has taken a proactive role in finding out student’s needs and regularly discuss how those needs can be met. The students have a forum in this newspaper, where opinions can be expressed through letters to the editor or editorial columns. Students also have a decision-making voice through their representatives who sit on the college senate.
In spite of the media that have been extended for students to express their concerns, administrators routinely disregard such opinions. Little effort is made to hear what students need before policy is made.
Any changes in policy, from residential life to scholarships, from graduation requirements to food service hours, should be brought before a student committee. When residential life changes the hours that the cafeteria is open or stops selling prepackaged food without consulting the students who will be affected, something is out of line. When housing is put on lock-down, without talking to the residents of the halls, the college is failing to recognize its primary purpose of serving students. When cosmetology is given parking stalls in the BDAC/Reeves parking lot, and the change is not brought before a formalized parking committee, this institution chooses to cater to faculty and the cosmetology clients, and alienates its primary customers.
The current trend in making policy changes at CEU is to make the change and then adjust as necessary when students complain. This logic is inherently flawed. An institution with such a flawed logic can never hope to succeed. It is no small wonder that many state officials still support annexing CEU as part of USU or reincorporating it as part of another state university.
We fear that by choosing to blatantly ignore the wants and needs of its students, the college is choosing to serve no one. If the college can’t serve the students, it will never serve itself.
Fortunately, the problem is not as widespread as we make it seem. Many faculty, staff and administrators have recognized the needs of students and ask for input when they can. We commend such groups and hope that those who are failing miserably by ignoring the students can learn from them.