Letter to the Editor: ‘Student voices aren’t heard on this campus’

By Kyle Miller, Masters Student, Social Work

To all connected with the Carbondale campus, It’s time we take back this campus.

For too long, the administration at Carbondale has only had one thing in mind – protect their own. The concerns of those working directly with students are not being heard.

I work for the University Honors Program and have seen first-hand the effect that this administration has had on those working for our university.

Our office saw three retirements within one month. We lost our wonderful director, our office manager, and our receptionist.

When it was time to conduct a director search, those in charge of this process did not even consult our office.

Out of everyone on the search committee, Dr. Tigerlily was the only Honors Faculty that sat on it. Although the others have taught for us in the past, they did not know the program and have not been back to teach for many years.

Our mentors in the program, Dr. Melinda Yeomans, Brenda Sanders and David Milley, never met with the potential candidates to interview them outside of the sham public forums.

The potential director of almost 600 students wasn’t even sat down with our students to be interviewed by them – but this isn’t a surprise.

Student voices aren’t heard on this campus.

While attending a forum for the now selected director of the Honors Program, I questioned where the student input would come in for the way she wanted to shake up the program.

She told me, “curriculum belongs to the faculty and students shouldn’t be involved.”

Now, I can see this being somewhat valid when talking about a major program shift, [but] students and faculty must be part of that research process.

This is what participatory action research is all about! Those who are affected are the ones who should be involved!

As this office prepares for the new director, 2 months after ours retired, I see our office becoming demoralized.

Raises have not happened for years and they are told to be happy with flex time.

How can we justify the salaries for those in Anthony Hall yet ignore the grassroots effort of faculty and staff across this campus and fail to pay them adequately.

A bit about our office too, we still have no office manager or receptionist and they do not plan to hire anyone for these positions in the near future.

How can SIU expect staff to be enthusiastic about being on this campus knowing that the Ivory Tower of Education is alive and well in our system? Knowing that the powerful only protect the powerful on this campus!

To those on this campus dealing with issues like this office is: be persistent.

We are slowly getting somewhere with administration. We have found that when you clog up Anthony Hall with petty emails and small tasks, it lights a fire and forces them to take action.

Make their lives difficult and make them work for their salaries.

Kyle Miller is a masters student in Social Work at Southern Illinois University. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

Letters to the Editor and guest columns must be submitted with author’s contact information by email. Students should include year and major and faculty must include rank and department. Submissions should be sent to [email protected]

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