Amott attributed the difficulties in communication to the incompatibility of the two schedules under which the school runs. The academic year ends in May and resumes in September, leaving the school empty when the budget is drawn in June, due to the fiscal year beginning in July.
“The budget that was covered in the faculty meeting was actually first put forward in the June Board meeting,” Amott said.
There are mechanisms in place to communicate information from the Board of Trustees meetings.
“One of [the] things that is unique to Knox is that we have faculty and student observers at Board meetings … usually Board [of Trustees] meetings are completely closed,” Amott said.
It has become apparent that, during the summer, information from the Board meetings has not been reaching students, surprising students returning in the fall.
“This information, which from the administration’s perspective has been shared with students, doesn’t actually get disseminated, so there’s one kind of potential gap,” Amott said. “Maybe this channel that we have of student observers at the Board meetings is a good channel during the school year, but may not be ideal for the June Board meeting given the fact that people are gone.”
Amott had previously considered the observers to be a sufficient channel to inform students on the budget matters of the institution, but the apparent difficulties have raised the question of whether alternative mechanisms are needed.
“Now if that’s not going to be a robust channel, if there’s no way for the information that student observers glean from that Board meeting to inject itself into the lives of the students and inform student so that they are apprised of important matters that affect them, then we should find a different channel,” Amott said.
The students who are on campus during the summer, traditionally, are students with summer employment in Galesburg or on campus, or students doing research at the college, and not students representing established channels of information dissemination.
“Even if I were to have had an open question and answer period after the Board, the students who would be on campus would be students doing research or had summer employment, but they wouldn’t be the elected student governance channels, so that’s one thing to think about,” Amott said.
Amott recognized the newspaper as another channel of informing students, though it does not publish during the summer and the same issues apply with students not residing on campus.
“TKS is a resource I would like to utilize as a channel of information to the student body,” Amott said.
After the talk, Amott closed in charging Senate with developing ideas of how to best inform students of financial proceedings during the summer and eliminate problems in communication structure.
Standing Committee Reports
Campus Life: Chair junior Paul Brar indicated that all of the theme houses have been met with to discuss contracts and expectations for the rest of the year. Not enough student feedback has been received concerning washer and dryer use payment methods to give a recommendation to Facilities Director Scott Maust yet.
Finance: Alpha Phi Omega requested $500 for travel expenses to go to a national APO conference in Anaheim, Calif. The request was approved. The Capoeira Club was denied budgeted club status; it was suggested that the club reapply as a non-budgeted club to gauge student interest.
Sustainability: A $36 Student Sustainability Fund request was made for a sack of “no mow” grass seed to try on campus in hopes of reducing the use of mowers.
Faculty Committee Reports
Admissions, Retentions and Placement: Reasons accepted applicants choose not to go to Knox were examined.
Curriculum: Potential new Japanese literature courses were discussed, revisions to the course proposal form were made and a new, more descriptive title for “experiential learning” was considered.