The MSG Spring Forum, which took place March 26, was a perfect illustration of how the administration fails to hear the voices of Mercyhurst students.
The forum was the best attended that I can ever remember, which clearly shows the level of dissatisfaction and disillusionment among the student body with regard to recent campus decisions.
Rather than feeling as though voices were heard, most students left more incensed than when they arrived.
The structure of the forum does not effectively allow for all grievances to be heard.
Only certain representatives from three Mercyhurst departments attended, and as I have said at many MSG forums, including the last, the fact that President Michael T. Victor is not present is
a serious issue for me.
His involvement as the leader of Mercyhurst should be expected.
This format further perpetuates the feeling that high-level staff are inaccessible and unhearing of our unhappiness.
If there are so many questions and complaints raised that the forum must end with a large volume of students being silenced or having their questions ignored, clearly the time allocated for
the forum is not good enough.
Even if unanswered questions are emailed to staff to answer, it is not the same as the ability to put your grievance to someone face to face, on the spot.
The whole system is catered toward the comfort and time preferences of the staff, rather than the students.
Even the fact that students have to write all their questions on paper and cannot just speak freely, as the staff can, says a lot.
Many students I spoke to felt that certain answers were rehearsed, or that points were just avoided when the result was not one that could pacify students.
In fact, many students who had never attended an MSG forum before simply said they would not go back, as they felt like they had no impact there.
In terms of the central issues- sophomore housing, the Ryan Hall meal plan requirements and the pub on campus — the forum changed nothing.
The pub was decidedly happening, and nothing with Ryan was solved.
It was actually the backlash from the forum, the university survey and letters to President Victor that brought about the change we all embraced.
I think the reasoning behind student anger is clear — we want to be listened to.
We are reasonable when we are heard, and naturally disenchanted when we are not.
MSG has a clear role at Mercyhurst, and the survey they put forward to sophomores regarding meal plans brought success.
That being said, the letters that I encouraged students to write to President Victor were a direct impact of the anger I felt leaving the forum.
MSG needs to take a step back and re-evaluate how these events actually benefit students.
I love the work MSG does, and anyone will tell you that I don’t miss a forum.
However, I have had to ask myself, do they actually make a difference?