Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief
As part of a graduating senior exit survey, I was asked if JSU was the Friendliest Campus in the South. I chose the “disagree” option and was then given the opportunity to explain why. This is what I said:
“I believe that (most of) the faculty and staff truly are the friendliest, most caring, intelligent, and involved of anyone at any university in the country, but the administration, particularly the president, his Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees have shown time and time again that the views expressed by students–and even faculty–do not matter.
The president is not interested in his students’ well-being, and is only interested in their success for the money he thinks it will bring to the university as alumni. He consistently presents a “me first” attitude when interacting with students and does not seem to do so of his own free will. (His interactions are almost always limited to large group settings like Preview Days and Orientation. He does not stop and talk with students around campus or show any vested interest in them as people.)
The president’s attitude trickles down to the other members of the administration, including at least two of the deans (from my personal experience). The administration is almost always condescending toward students, as if them coming into an administrative office to ask a question about financial aid/transcripts/housing/scholarships/etc. is a burden on the staff, and, as a student, I get the impression that they would rather me “figure it out myself” than ask them to do their jobs. Many of the administrative workers and faculty do not have what I would call a servant’s heart and do not seem to want to help the students they are here to assist.
During Orientation, incoming students are made to feel like JSU is really about YOU, but once they get assigned an ID number, everything changes, and they are subjected to the same red tape, runaround, hoops to jump through, and general disrespect that the upperclassmen face every semester.
Part of this, I believe, is due to the university’s dearth of communication skills. Regarding the aftermath of the tornado, I have several questions: Why was the primary form of communication Dr. King’s personal Facebook page and not from the university’s official channels? Why did Dr. Beehler not make any announcements? And why were there so many confusing changes and rescissions to statements? If these changes were, in fact, because of the policy of an outside agency, why were these agencies not named (all we ever heard was the ominous “they”)–or, more effectively, why were these agencies not consulted BEFORE a mass decision was announced?
Overall, it seems like very little protocol was followed during this crisis (if such a protocol even exists–which, at this point, is questionable). As a student who lost her entire childhood home in the disaster, it added so much more unnecessary stress on me and my family than if the university had waited to make one announcement about the plans for the semester after everything had been clarified and secured.”
Will I miss JSU? Oh, yes. I have made so many memories, accomplished so much and grown exponentially as a person in my four years here. (For example, four years ago, I never would have published these comments.) But will I miss feeling like I am less than a person just because I’m a student or that the only thing my university values about me is my money?