Cases of negative student feedback and methods to resolve such feelings concerning the Open Budget Forum held Jan. 29 were discussed during the Student Senate meeting Jan. 30.
Senator senior Alex Uzarowicz noted that a lower level of respect was shown to President Teresa Amott than he would have hoped. He commended Amott on holding the forum, saying that it demonstrated transparency and that tough decisions had to be made.
“This is not us versus Teresa,” Uzarowicz said.
Vice President junior Phil Bennett brought up negative student feedback he had seen posted to Facebook, though no specific posts were addressed.
Several senators brought up potential reasons for the negativity.
Senator senior Rup Sarkar believes that panic concerning the rise in tuition and the impact of budget cuts on the student experience may have sent the conversation down a negative path. Sarkar recommended that Senate take a more active role in pointing students to the appropriate resources, such as the Office of Financial Aid, so that they can have their questions answered.
Senator junior Nora McGinn suggested Senate develop means by which student can take a proactive approach in hopes that feelings of alienation among the student body would subside.
A misunderstanding of Amott’s role in financial proceedings may have been a cause of the negativity, senator sophomore Devin Hanley said.
As Amott does not have final say on all budget matters, operating under that assumption would be “missing the big picture,” Hanley said. Recognizing that the issue can only be resolved over a number of years is essential to understanding the transitional nature of the present, according to Hanley.
Senator freshman Srichandra Masabathula highlighted another potential source of negativity in that students may have misunderstood the intention of the forum and went in with the intention of making an argument for reversing the rise in tuition instead of learning about the circumstances causing the rise.
Senator sophomore Payton Rose suggested that Senate develop ways of reminding students of the unique aspects of Knox that make the experience enjoyable. Several senators recommended using the Valentine’s Day Senate meeting, to be held in the Taylor Lounge, as a platform for the project.
Senate President senior Michael Gasparro anticipated the reaction to the forum, recognizing that the majority of cases in which students take on an increased financial burden are met with frustration.
“[The forum] was born out of frustration,” Gasparro said.
In other business, Men’s Rugby was approved as a new budgeted club.
Sustainability: A new water bottle filler was installed in Seymour Hall above the drinking fountain next to the Carl Sandburg Lounge.