Bringing it out into the open at West

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Student Government and Dr. Ron Liss hold an open forum to discuss what issues have been done, and find out what issues are on students’ minds.

By Jeremy Hopkins, West Editor

Students, faculty, and administration gathered together under the dome of the Galleria for an open forum held by Student Government on Monday, March 24.  This forum featured campus president Dr. Ron Liss providing many updates of what has already been done to improve the experience for students.  Dr. Liss also asked the students what issues they wanted addressed.

Dr. Liss observes as Student Government reports on issues important to students. (Photo by Jeremy Hopkins)
Dr. Liss observes as Student Government reports on issues important to students. (Photo by Jeremy Hopkins)

Lasting nearly two hours, students were given many frank answers about issues such as food on campus, the addition of a student lounge area to campus, day care, issues with textbooks, transferring credits to other schools, and more.  Student Government representatives Eric Rosado, Sueli Yahara, and Anthony Ruvolo also presented reports of issues they were working on with their recent trip to Washington, DC.  Students and faculty were given a chance to ask questions and provide ideas on where they felt changes are needed.

Some of the issues are easy to address, and plans are already in the works to fix them.  Others are harder to address, and a few will not be addressed.  For example, when asked about day care on campus, Liss and Student Government replied that the funding for the child care program for the entire Cuyahoga Community College was transferred to other programs, despite West campus being the only one it was profitable at.  Even though there is a need for it, the issue of extra costs to the school at all the other campuses ended the program.

Similarly, Liss informed the students that the price of the food served on campus is less than what Aramark charges to the students.  That difference is paid by the school.  While there is often a complaint for better food or lower prices (or both), the argument was made that the definition of quality is different from person to person.  In order to provide better offerings, Liss stated we need to give specific feedback to the food services.  “There’s a trade-off,” he stated, reminding us that every increase in quality comes with an increase in prices.  Students rarely want the higher prices for different or healthier dishes.  Still, if students want a different or better dish, we need to ask for it.

West president Dr. Liss addresses the prices of textbooks at the open forum March 24. (Photo by Jeremy Hopkins)
West president Dr. Liss addresses the prices of textbooks at the open forum March 24.
(Photo by Jeremy Hopkins)

Liss also mentioned that he had conversations with the bookstore regarding prices.  One alternative to paying the higher prices at the bookstore that was mentioned was renting the books.  Several students mentioned that they have a desire to keep the books periodically, and that renting was not always convenient.  It was also mentioned that renting requires a credit card, which some students do not have.  Unfortunately, at this time the options are not many.  Liss stated we need to work with the bookstore, because “they control the books.”

More photos and video of the open forum will be available at the Multimedia tab on the Voice website.

While it was not a packed turnout, it was a decently sized group of students who had questions.  As classes ended and others began, more students participated in the discussion, furthering the scope of the discussions.  Students were encouraged to present their ideas at open meetings of the Student Government, held Mondays at 3 PM in A101.  Student Government also is looking for members for the 2014-15 school year.  Interested members can apply with either Student Life in A100 right next door or in the Student Government offices.  Students who wish to be included are asked to be taking a minimum of 3 credit hours at West and maintain a 2.5 GPA.

**edited 3/26: Student Government president Tony Ruvolo’s name was inadvertently misspelled.

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