We as The Knox Student editorial board commend the administration for a smooth and transparent Town Hall meeting this past week, but believe that steps can still be taken to bridge the gap between students and admin.
We would also like to commend the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapter, who showed up ready with questions. They are constantly pushing for transparency on this campus, and we are proud to see it.
It was also nice to see a large amount of administration, including those who did not have to present at the Town Hall, present. To show up and talk to the students is a great step toward transparency.
However, we have questions for both the administration and Student Senate, who planned the event.
First, these Town Halls are supposed to happen twice a year. This is the first one we’ve seen during this year, and we doubt there will be another before the end of classes. It would have been ideal to have one at the beginning of the year and at the end. That would have been beneficial for both the student body and the administration to speak with one another.
Second, the Town Hall was not advertised very well. The posters for the event only went up one day before it happened, giving people barely any opportunity to plan ahead. The event wasn’t even on the Knox events calendar, making it even less accessible to the student body. Nor was it included in the Campus Life email.
Third, we are interested in why there were only two topics mainly presented on. We agree that these topics, the breakdown of the college’s budget and building renovations, are two very prevalent issues to the college and student body as a whole. However, it would have been more useful to either include an additional subject or schedule more time for additional questions at the end. Since the meeting was only scheduled for one hour, members of the administration had to leave when the students still had questions they wanted to answer. Allowing for more than one hour would have helped solve the problem.
It also would have been productive for the administration to gather topics of interest from the entire body, not just Student Senate. While Senate is supposed to be our representatives, we believe there would have been a different selection of topics had the college sent out a request to all students.
It seems that the student body wants these meetings with the administration, if the YDSA’s enthusiasm is any indication. So why are there not more opportunities? If there was a briefing of the Board of Trustees meeting in February, we were not aware. And if the student newspaper was not aware, the rest of the student body was definitely not aware.
Ultimately, we think that this Town Hall was a step in the right direction. The administration answered honestly and openly, with lots of information for the students. However, the fact that this was the first Town Hall this year speaks to exactly why we need more interaction with the administration at Knox.