It would appear Miami University students are less interested in having a voice in university decisions.
Barbara Jones, vice president for student affairs, said it’s a challenge to get students to fill all the university committee roles.
“The appointment of students to committees is the responsibility of ASG,” Jones said. “It’s hard to find schedule times that work for students or they don’t show up.”
Jonathan McNabb, student body president, said ASG has been e-mailing possible candidates and advertising on campus and list servs.
“To be honest, we’ve had a difficult time finding students interested,” McNabb said. “The blame falls on me.”
Some of the committees currently lacking their usual number of student members are the Parking and Appeals Committee, the Committee on Student Media Organizations (COSMO) and the Miami University Lecture Series Committee.
“It baffles me, and I don’t know why (we can’t find students),” McNabb said. “Somehow we’re missing the students that are interested.”
McNabb said it’s harder to find students members for committees that report to the Student Affairs Council (SAC). Both COSMO and the Lecture Series Committee report to SAC due to the influence they have to decide how portions of the student general fee are spent.
“It’s been a mess this year,” said Lana Kay Rosenberg, chair of the Lecture Series Committee and associate professor of kinesiology and health. “I do have some student members but only because I was extremely proactive.”
Rosenberg said she can only speak for the Lecture Series Committee, but said she was never told which student members were appointed spring 2009.
Rosenberg said she’s supposed to have a total of six student members – two are appointed by virtue of the positions they hold and four are appointed at large.
Rosenberg said she had to contact a lot of people before getting any answers about student committee members.
“It was a slip up (by ASG) and it’s frustrating,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said traditionally ASG notifies the Office of Student Affairs which students have been nominated to serve on committees and then the students are assigned committees.
Rosenberg said having student members on her committee is important because they help decide which guests to invite to campus.
“It would be easier to just have faculty members on the committee, but students are helpful and present a different perspective,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said some years the process of obtaining student members for the committee is a smooth process, but she said it’s never been this bad.
Rosenberg said the process of how students are picked to serve on committees needs revision. Some years, Rosenberg said she’s had students who really want to serve on her committee, but they aren’t chosen.
“We need to empower students to do these things because it’s a wonderful opportunity,” Rosenberg said. “There’s never been an open invitation to students (about this) and I think it’s sad.”
Bruce Drushel, chair of COSMO and assistant professor of communication, has been involved with COSMO since the early 1990s.
COSMO usually has seven faculty and staff members and four student members. This year no student members were nominated to the committee by ASG.
“This is the first year that I can recall not having any student members,” Drushel said.
Drushel said COSMO is responsible for electing the editors, business managers and general managers of The Miami Student, Recensio yearbook, Miami Quarterly, WMSR and Inklings. The committee recently received an application from Up Magazine to become part of the student media organizations.
The committee also oversees budget proposals from student media.
Drushel said in December 2009 he received an e-mail from McNabb “referring to excuses” about not having students available for COSMO. Drushel said after that no further action has occurred.
“It was an oversight on their part, and I don’t know why it hasn’t been resolved,” Drushel said.
Drushel said student committee members are crucial because they contribute valuable ideas and viewpoints faculty and staff wouldn’t consider.
“It deprives students of input in leadership and how organizations spend their budget, which partially comes from student fees,” Drushel said.
Drushel said he can usually count on two to three of the four students nominated by ASG to show up regularly to meetings.
“I view this year as an extreme case,” Drushel said. “It was disappointing that there were no appointments this year. This is a fairly big issue.”
McNabb said ASG hopes to have student members available for these committees in the next few weeks.
“We’re committed to finding students because it’s important to have student representation,” McNabb said.