Amid recent coverage in local media of proposed policy changes and reduced course offerings, students have been demanding greater transparency into administrative decisions. The Town Hall meeting on April 13 was organized in response to this demand.
Students raised a number of concerns during the course of the two hour meeting. They asked which courses had been cut from the fall schedule and why, asking for a list to be made available online. There were also questions about the cost of hiring models for the fashion show and the new video monitors in the entrance to the Sharp building, at a time when the school is bringing in fewer tuition dollars and the economy in general is lagging. Several students were also interested in instituting a more effective school recycling program. Reiter dispelled the rumor that there are plans to build a gym and clarified some of the confusion about the future of the holography and neon labs.
The feedback from the audience was mixed. Many in the crowd expressed a desire for more studio space rather than the student center Reiter has proposed. Some were concerned that Reiter’s decisions did not reflect the actual desires and needs of the SAIC community, and wondered what input students were actually having in the decision-making process.
Reiter and the student association have raised the possibility of future town hall meetings, and promised more communication with students through the online portal. Whether the administration will live up to these promises remains to be seen, and some audience members seemed skeptical. Still, signs are promising. From disclosing the school’s budget and assets to explaining changes in financial aid and available courses, it seems that a sincere effort was made to address and work with students’ concerns.