Written by Nate Roys (Publications Chief) & Laura Alyssa Platé (News Editor)
Students show the amount of money they are receiving through departmental scholarships.PHOTO / SAGE SHIRLEY
After a whirlwind of complaints from students and professors about the possible abolishment of departmental scholarships, the administration made a swift decision that these scholarships will not be going anywhere.
The original email that was sent out to deans and department chairs said that departmental scholarships would be done away with. In that email, Director of Financial Aid, David McMillion said, “During a recent budget discussion, senior administration has decided to reallocate those funds to help better meet the needs of the college and the student body.”
Following the initial article, administration reached out to The Roar to clarify the intent of the original email.
“The bottom line is that no students are losing any departmental scholarships already awarded and that funding for future departmental scholarships is not being either eliminated or reduced,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Dan Silber, in an email.
Dr. Silber went on to explain that the only thing changing in concern to departmental scholarships, is the decision-making process.
“In point of fact, NO scholarship funding is being withdrawn from the departments. The only thing that is changing is the decision making process, which going forward will be shared between the academic departments and the college’s financial aid office,” said Dr. Silber. “This new process will replace the previous process in which departments made unilateral decisions without consulting financial aid.”
Dr. Silber also stated that any departmental scholarship awarded by the previous process, up to this point, will still hold true.
“Additionally, any scholarships academic departments have already awarded to students based on the previous process will continue to be honored,” said Dr. Silber.
Several Piedmont students were relieved to hear the news, and were impressed by the speed in which the college reacted to their collective voice.
“It truly amazes me that students were able to share their stories and opinions and be heard so quickly by the college,” said junior mass communications major Savannah Richards. “I’m grateful our administration takes students’ concerns about these issues so seriously. Even if it was a miscommunication, seeing how quickly they responded is a blessing. This is exactly why a student paper is important, and why it’s available to give all PC students a voice. Our scholarships allow us to make this experiential learning a possibility.”
Senior quadruple humanities major John Hollis Meyer, who previously was concerned with the mounting student debt crisis, was quick to respond with praise for both the students engagement in such important issues, and the administration’s quick reaction to the concerns.
“I believe the reversal of this policy is the victory of students that organized an effort to push back,” said Meyer. “These scholarships mean a lot, and that was evidenced by the groundswell of comments made by Piedmont College students. That solidarity is heartwarming. It is also nice to see the president and vice presidents take time to hear us out and communicate what the change will be more effectively. Those who reported this deserve our thanks, otherwise we may not have had a chance to respond in time.”
Students were not the only group of people on campus who were impressed with the administration and pleased with the decision. However, administration worked quickly to hear, and resolve, the concerns of students and professors.
“It’s very encouraging that the administration moved quickly to address the issue once the story broke on the Roar,” said mass communications professor Melissa Tingle. “This situation has demonstrated two critical things: (1) that our student media are steadfastly committed to the democratization of information; and (2) our administration is responsive to student voices of concern.”
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