The defining characteristic of any academic institution is its students. How important is it to keep the students in the loop? Should the students be informed of any incidents on the campus that may affect their learning experience on campus, or their lives off campus?
First, we have the financial aid situation. If you were on campus at the LAC during the day, anytime last week you may have noticed the line of students leading into the main administration building. Those students had been left without answers regarding their financial aid status. Even though statements from administration indicated that the portion of financial aid that covered enrolment and class fees had been covered, the students had still been left in the dark regarding the rest of their financial aid money. It had not come in and the students that depend on that money for external expenses had little recourse when it came to getting the information they needed. The only option they had was to stand in line.
So the question becomes, if financial aid is so detrimental to such a large portion of the student population, why are so many students left without information?
That leads us to our next issue of concern. The Viking staff recently found out that there was evidence of a bed bug presence in the EE building of the PCC. While the school was very quick to isolate the problem, and took steps to deal with it, the question remains. Why wasn’t the student body informed that the bed bugs had been discovered? The easy answer of course is that administration didn’t want to cause a panic. The problem is, with a potential for infestation, what is the possibility that a student might have taken a bed bug home with them from the campus back to their homes? Beyond that, what are the chances that that student brings a problem home with them that affects their entire family, or even any other tenants they may share an apartment building? The reality of bed bugs is that only a couple can start in infestation that could last for a long time, and affects the quality of living for everyone involved. This is extremely costly to eliminate. In short, it’s a small problem that can escalate very quickly.
The students should have been informed about both situations as they materialized. When the financial aid department found out that there would be delays in financial aid disbursements, they should have sent out an email to the student body. It should have told us that there would be a delay in disbursements, and more so, the reason for the delay. And at the very least, it should have told students, in clear terms, that they would need to take special precautions to pay for their books and other expenses and given them an idea when the problem would be solved. Without that email, we got what we got. Two weeks of long lines, unanswered questions, and a large group of angry and nervous students.
The same could be said for the bed bug situation, but lucky for administration, the student body was not as informed about that situation. Admittedly, that notification might have caused students to become angry but at the very least they would have been informed. Those students would still have the ability to take steps to make sure they didn’t transfer a potential infestation to their homes. Instead, without that notification, that potential infestation has had longer to manifest.
The school, and its administration has to consider its responsibility to the students. There is no LBCC without the students. Perhaps they are worried that the student body couldn’t handle the information about the financial aid situation or the bed bugs. We would ask that the administration gives the student body a little more credit.
This school has the potential to see the student body become a community of students, not just in the same place at the same time, but all focused on the singular goal of learning, and reinforcing that in our peers. As a community of students, part of that growth is getting the facts that we need to govern our lives as needed, but doing it together with the help of our peers. Administration can have a hand in that by trusting the student body with all the information that we need in order to ensure our learning environment is the best it can be for ourselves, but also for the community of students that we can become.