Every few months, the Piedmont App blows up with students complaining and bemoaning a decision that Piedmont makes. A lot of times, it seems to the students that our concerns are being brushed off because decisions have already been made. That’s the issue. Students care about the decisions being made that affect us. We pay attention to the decisions coming down the chain of command, but we rarely know what is up for discussion until after it passes the point of open conversation. It’s frustrating that we, the students, do not know what is in the works on the campus that provides us with everything, from housing to education to meals. We are expected to be adults, but we aren’t given much of a voice to make adult decisions.
We haven’t come all that far from raising our hands to go to the bathroom in high school in this respect. The majority of these decisions really only affect us. At best, one student is placed on a committee, but usually, that student feels as though their voice is being drowned out because they aren’t a member of the faculty and staff. More often than not, students aren’t even consulted. Many feel as though the college puts more emphasis on pleasing alumni than retaining students that are currently enrolled. The new Conservatory of Music is beautiful, and we are glad those students have such an incredible space to learn in, but other departments and schools bring in more students and have less accommodating spaces. Unfortunately for them, they don’t produce as aesthetically pleasing B-Roll for marketing as the Fine Arts do.
Students are more outraged that we were not included in the conversation than we are about the decision. When there were changes to graduation regalia, we didn’t get a say. When Habersham County closes schools, sometimes we follow their lead and sometimes we don’t, but communication should be open and upfront whether we close or not. A textbook fee was proposed last year, students freaked out and there was an open forum. Since then, it hasn’t been brought up to students. We are adults, we want to be included in the conversations. We want to have an active part in our education, and the communication between the administration and the student body is the biggest reason students take to the app to complain. The SGA Complaints box on the app is a start, but until we see the administration actively listening and making strides to make those changes, or explain to us in a nonpatronizing way why changes aren’t feasible, it’s not enough. If the administration wants us to be professional, give us a professional way to communicate our needs and opinions to the movers and shakers.
Most recently, administration announced, in an email, that all departmental scholarships would be done away with for the 2020-21 academic year. We heard about this through faculty, since the email was not sent out to students.
The decisions made by the administration are theirs to make. But students finding out about decisions that affect them directly in an indirect manner is not right. The communication problem that the administration has with students is unacceptable.
Written by Laura Alyssa Plate on behalf of The Roar
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