Disconnect between students, administration

University can, should work with students on campus financial issues just as much as social issues



Former ASWSU president Jordan Frost addresses ASWSU during the weekly meeting Aug. 23, 2017 in the CUB. Frost said talking about university issues like sexual assault improves a college’s credibility.

ALEX BIVIANO, Evergreen columnist

For a university to function properly, compromises must be made. Our current administration is trying to lead WSU in the right direction by connecting with student leadership and university donors to make mutually beneficial decisions.

While WSU President Kirk Schulz’s involvement with student leadership organizations has increased, there is still a large amount of work that needs to be done to have an ideal relationship between students and university leadership.

One example of this disconnect is how the introduction of a mandatory sports pass played out. Athletics proposed a referendum to ASWSU requiring all undergraduate students to purchase the $265 pass. Even though the ASWSU Senate voted it down, many senators felt that the student body should have been given the chance to vote on it.

Jordan Frost, former president of ASWSU and first-year WSU student regent, spoke about the process by which student fees are introduced as well as how he felt about working with administration.

“The priorities are similar, but the means of achieving are different,” Frost said.

Sexual assault prevention is an issue that administration and ASWSU both recognized as needing attention, but they approached the problem in vastly different ways.

While Frost took a vocal approach toward the issue, administration chose a quieter route. They diverted resources toward a sexual assault prevention program in fear of the negative attention that bringing sexual assault to light would draw to the university.

Issues still remain in areas like university transparency and relations with certain groups such as Multicultural Student Services.

This mindset may benefit WSU from the lens of public perception, but it has downsides including how concerned students view administration.

WSU’s image is one of the most valuable aspects of the institution and many issues that could jeopardize it make the university closely consider its options. Athletics spending is seen as a positive for WSU because good sports programs lead to a stronger reputation around the nation.

Frost said shedding light on sexual assault prevention is good for the university because it allows WSU to get out front of a serious problem rather than back-pedaling on the issue like Michigan State University and Baylor University have recently had to do.

Talking about a problem every university faces rather than hiding from it enhances a school’s image rather than diminishing it. While every university struggles with sexual assault prevention, not every school has a solid prevention plan in place.

Issues like sexual assault and mental health awareness are positive examples where student organizations and administration could come together to find common ground. However, there are other problems on campus where a mutually-beneficial solution is easy to find.

Financial decisions on campus are often made solely by administration and the presence of student voice is seemingly a token gesture to appear as if students are being taken into consideration. Tuition hikes and the sports pass are examples of administration steamrolling student input.

Sports are a huge attraction for many students on campus and the introduction of an expensive sports pass only keeps students away from a program they love. While the growing deficit needs to be lowered, a mandatory fee was preferred by students rather than an optional, more costly sports pass.

Frost acknowledged that Athletics considered a mandatory fee as part of their recovery plan for the more than $60 million deficit they are facing.

As a student, all that I am asking for is financial issues to be discussed with students in the same way social issues are. Students and administration have found common ground before and there is a reason to believe that, given enough effort, they would be able to do so in regard to financial discussions as well.