With student concern running high Tech administrators, Student Government Association, Faculty Senate and American Association of University Professors are banding together.President Bob Bell realized this time is difficult for students.
“This isn’t just the most difficult budget time students have seen in their lifetime,” Bell said.
“It’s the most difficult time I’ve seen in my lifetime prior to 1935. So this is flat out going to be a difficult thing.”
According to Bell, Tech must take a hard look at all measures carried out by the University in order to provide the best possible educational scenario to Tech students. Concern
“We have the largest number of students in the state university system on financial aid of one type or another,” Bell said. “So we support students better than any place, and that’s probably going to be a little harder to do as we go through this than it has been in the past.”
“The federal government is going to be making it harder to get financial aid, too. So there are a lot of factors here you have to think about before you just automatically look at a change in the way you do tuition. And again, that’s why it took them three to four years to study it, to look at it. It’s not an easy thing to look at doing.”
Tech is readying the campus to help students who could potentially find themselves in need.
“It could be that we have more opportunities for students here on campus,” Bell said. “Where we had a full-time person working, maybe we eliminate that position and have students fill that position. This could save the student by way of them not having to drive, and it could perhaps give them the chance to maybe work in their major.”
The University is also looking to save on energy costs in order to keep more money on campus.
“We have more labs on this campus than any other campus in the state,” Bell said. “And we will be holding back on some of them in the next couple of years. Students may have to walk to another lab instead of having one in each of their building.”
“And I want to encourage students and everyone else to think of energy-saving agendas and suggest them to the folks where they see a possible saving could take place. Just go ahead and mention it to them.”
Overall the University is geared toward maintaining the integrity of the Tech curriculum.
“We’ve got folks working very hard to make sure we’ve done everything we can to protect the classroom. That’s a key element. We need to remind ourselves why we’re here,” Bell said.
Bell asked students to be diligent in their study of the proposed TBR changes.
“There’s going to be a lot of inflammatory stuff brought up on all the budget items over the next couple of months. So there’s going to be a lot of rumors around and a lot of vicious stuff said about various groups,” Bell said.
“The last area TBR wants to touch is tuition. They didn’t go about this easy. When we put our tuition proposal together, whether it’s a computer access fee or a parking fee, they eat us alive. So these folks really have had the students in mind all along. They just didn’t see a lot of alternatives in this thing. And they were finally convinced this is the fairest of the plans. That short-term, yes, it would hurt the people that are right on the edge of their last year or so, but it was the fairest way to do it over the long-term.”
President Bell is scheduled to speak at a campus-wide forum Dead Hour Tuesday in Derryberry Auditorium. The event is hosted by AAUP and co-hosted by Faculty Senate and will provide Bell with an opportunity to answer previously submitted question from faculty, students and staff.
Because all concerns certainly cannot be addressed at this forum, President Bob Bell encouraged students to pursue every avenue in order to get their opinions heard.
“I’d certainly encourage students to work with their SGA,” Bell said. “That’s the most official voice they have with the Board of Regents, along with their Student Regent.”
SGA Senator from the College of Arts and Science Sean Ochsenbein agreed with Bell.
“I feel the students should voice their opinion to SGA,” Ochsenbein said. “If the students have concerns and are looking for answers to specific questions regarding the TBR changes, I would hope they would feel comfortable coming to the SGA office and proposing the questions to us.”
SGA is observing the proposed changes in the same manner as other students. And as far as plans to voice concern over the TBR proposal, SGA is relying heavily on the students.
“We speak for the body of Tech students,” Ochsenbein said. “If plans need to be made they will be formulated from the questions and proposals that might arise from the concerns of the students.”
Bell asked for all to students to get involved in educating themselves about the proposed changes.
“Communicate, be active on campus, and stay tuned, “Bell said.