The university has some decent policies for student-related issues. Are they followed to the T? Probably it is best left to a case-to-case basis. There is definitely friction when it comes to budget related topics. These are usually tangled in a bureaucratic mess. There is a big question mark over what those budget-related forums actually end up solving. Apart from being a place to vent frustration. Sadly, there is no one right answer and all the really tricky questions are always pushed to the back of the queue with a red tape around them.
For the most part, yes. Seeing as ASWSU is made up of students, we have similar interests. Lower costs on all things, greater service from all things and free PB&J sandwiches on Wednesday. I am still waiting for the red phone with a direct line to the president, but give it time.
I feel students are hearing my voice. I am an opinion columnist for a student newspaper. Somewhere on campus there is somebody reading my opinions. I know because I read the many responses to my voice. I think administrators are also hearing my voice, and the voice of most students on campus, but I feel as though their hands are tied to do anything. The biggest concerns for students are financially related; the same is true of the university as a whole. Administrators and faculty are struggling to survive in this economy, and that means taking drastic measures. Is my voice heard on campus? Yes. Is my voice heard in Olympia, where it really needs to be heard? Not so much.
The student voice in student related issues still needs to be heard by administrators. Too many times, students have been prevented from voicing their opinion or getting something changed due to bureaucracy. People say they do not have the authority, or send the student on a wild goose chase through four or five different departments. In many cases, students do not even know who to complain to: the professor, a department head or ASWSU. It is clear that staff needs to be more understanding, and in many cases think from a student’s perspective if that is how they themselves would like to be treated when they bring up a problem.
I don’t worry too frequently about being heard because, if you have ever met me, I know I tend to come across quickly as a pretty loud and outspoken person. Getting people to engage with and respond to me is the more difficult feat. Sure I can find someone to agree with me or even just listen while I ramble, but I rarely come across anyone willing to have a legitimate outlook-shifting discourse. And catching the ear of anyone who has the authority to actually make change is even more difficult. I find that the people in power here at WSU tend to set a framework for the direction they want to take things, and even if they humor or even praise the opinions of students, those suggestions are seldom put into action.
Often I feel like when I try to get my voice out there, even when the methods of communication are there, nobody hears what I have to say. The average student does not have a lot of means to communicate with the people who count without making direct phone calls or sending emails out to every administrator who could possibly have influence on the issue at hand. For those of us lucky enough to have a widely-read means of communication, we still rely on the right people reading our thoughts and taking action on the issue. Students need to rely on more direct lines of communication when it comes to issues that matter most to them.