Student Senate held a town hall style meeting with Elizabethtown College President Carl Strikwerda in Hoover 212 on February 11, 2016 where he answered questions concerning the recent rise in tuition. The opening statements were concerning the bias-related incidents that took place on campus recently, the “It’s On Us” campaign and the increase in tuition costs.
Collin Davidson, president of the executive cabinet of Student Senate, called the meeting to order and introduced Strikwerda. The meeting began with roll call for the Student Senate members. Strikwerda then took the floor with a question and answer period.
Strikwerda then continued to discuss the events at Mount St. Mary’s institution and their staff and remarked that the College staff works hard for the best community that they could have. He also spoke of the advantages to the cost increase, such as the rising price to maintain a prestigious school. There is an option to go to a financial aid officer to go over a specific case.
At this time the floor was opened to the students so that they could voice their concerns with Strikwerda. These questions ranged from the topic of the field house construction, the distribution of scholarship money between the classes, the importance of the tuition model, minimum wage for students and how the money from tuition will be used and what students will directly see its benefits. Strikwerda answered every question that was asked of him. Around five o’clock Davidson called for a recess. The president then left and Student Senate resumed their normal meeting procedures.
Maddie Rutherford, secretary of the Class of 2018 and the executive cabinet, stated, “It was really nice to see students coming out to learn about topics, like tuition, that really matter to them.” There is a lot of emphasis that there should be more involvement from the students because they can be directly involved with the decisions that affect them.
Sean Fiedler, president of the class of 2018 and treasurer of executive cabinet, said, “I think there may be an outcry from the students, but we need to have faith in the administration. They’re trying to do their best for and are working hard for this community.” He elaborated, communication between students and faculty is essential to understanding one another to achieve the best community for higher learning.
Blair Hendricks, sophomore International Business and French double major, attended the meeting as a student and remarked, “Student Senate was well-run. The student opinions were adequately acknowledged and there were respectful interactions between students. It was a conversation.” She then continued, “It felt good to voice my opinion as a student, especially to the president of the college.” For this student, the meeting was helpful and insightful to the ideas of the administration and why the tuition increases are happening as they are.
The meeting was an opportunity for the students to voice their concerns over the school with Student Senate and the President. Many students were pleased with the process. Members of Student Senate were satisfied with the outcome of students.