Something I thought I’d never see: some MSA executives showing a little spine and stirring things up a bit, here in an open letter to Mary Sue Coleman:
” … We know the current budget crisis affects the allocation of University resources and that you, President Coleman, are committed to ensuring University students the best education possible. However, a necessary part of a quality educational experience depends upon a community space that is safe and comfortable for all students. Everyday, we talk with students and work to address the needs of multiple communities across campus. We know the threat to SAPAC is not an isolated incident; it demonstrates a disturbing trend in the administration’s attitude towards student affairs.
In the last few years, the Division of Student Affairs, under the leadership of E. Royster Harper, has seen its funding cut by $700,000, as reported in the Daily. This year Student Activities and Leadership faced a 27 percent budget cut, resulting in a reduction of the number of student leadership retreats they are able to sponsor. The Offices of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs and Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs have also dealt with a serious reduction of funds. Additionally, the Division of Student Affairs has attempted to re-organize Greek life. All of these changes have been made without student input. Cutting and reorganizing student services are alarming on their own; however, consistently reorganizing student services without any student voice in the process is completely unacceptable.
The resources and support provided by programs in the Division of Student Affairs need to remain accessible to students and informed by the needs of the students, not mandated by the budget and arbitrarily altered without dialogue involving all of the campus community. President Coleman, we call for an end to the rollback of student services. Keep the SAPAC Crisis-line on campus and counseling services available through SAPAC. Take steps to rectify the damages that inhibit the best student services our campus can offer. We believe that we can begin a fruitful process of working together to create an effective institutional space for student voices within the Division of Student Affairs. As the executives of the elected central student assembly, we urged you to contact us in order to begin this process.”
My guess? On Monday, the University says that some of the details of the Viewpoint aren’t true (they can undo and change decisions, after all) to distract from the central message: budget cutting happens without student input and is seriously hurting important student services.