Campus Climate forums proving constructive

By Jen Lassen

Contributing Writer

There is no question that the Campus Climate Task Force Report has caused many students to ask questions and discuss the contents of the 68-page document. President Bravman’s bold move to initiate a forum for students to attend first seemed a little dangerous to me, especially after I had observed students’ negative reactions to the document. Before I attended the forum last week I thought it would be a bunch of angry students back-lashing both the administration and the document for some of its more controversial topics. Especially as a first-year, I walked into the forum quite intimidated and unsure of how it would turn out. But I believe that in a world dominated by administrative hierarchies, giving students the chance to voice their opinions is always a good thing–especially with something that directly affects the students. A forum gives the administration a chance to rethink its original intentions for wanting to make University changes after students speak. Keeping an open dialogue between staff and students is healthy and productive, and in the case of the Campus Climate Task Force Report, the student body and administrators will be able to work together to improve campus from the discussions held.

I found myself surprised at how intelligent and constructive the students’ comments were. There were hints of anger in some students’ comments, yes, but overall I thought giving the students the ability to voice their own opinions turned out to be a good thing. As the president stood on stage, he certainly must have been listening to what the students had to say and analyzing their opinions about the report. I think this process of letting the students speak their minds helped everyone, especially the administration, realize how the students attending the University feel about a document that specifically targeted their actions.

Although on Tuesday students were not given the chance to ask questions about the document, only to voice their opinions, it turned out to be constructive because it allowed the president and his staff to gain insight from students and take students’ thoughts into consideration. Maybe the administration’s own opinions about what was written in the document were changed from the students’ comments, but we won’t know this until there is more collaboration between students and staff to improve the University.
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