By Skylar Darel
In a open forum organized by Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Elizabeth Bapasola, students asked questions and expressed concerns regarding various policies at the College at the first ever Red Tape meeting on Friday, Oct. 26 in the Brower Student Center Room 216.
Roughly 20 students attended as both individuals and representatives of various student organizations. Bapasola described the meeting as an opportunity to get feedback on various legislative changes at the College.
A myriad of issues were discussed such as the new travel policy, funding for student organizations’ events and revising the criteria for having a service animal on campus.
Brooke Chlebowski, a senior special education and iSTEM double major and executive president of Student Government, hoped to gain some more clarity on the travel policy.
The travel policy outlines procedures that faculty, staff and student leaders need to follow whenever they travel off campus. It also sets standards for the authorization process for student organizations who request approval for their off-campus event sponsored by the College.
Bapasola said that the policy is still somewhat under construction and that the Division of Student Affairs is aiming for a more definitive version by this upcoming January.
Gary Miller, the director of compliance and privacy officer at the College, touched on the issue as well.
“There is an expectation we have some control and some oversight in place,” Miller said.
He stressed that it is not the intent of the College to oversee casual gatherings without reason, but rather to oversee gatherings from a liability standpoint.
Miller then referred to the shared governance page on the College’s website, stating that its tab titled, “Status of Issues” gives students and faculty alike an updated assessment of the various legislative issues currently up for debate on campus.
Sophomore marketing major Rupak Doctor also asked for more clarification on the policy.
“The most significant topic discussed to me was the travel policy,” Doctor said. “It’s important that organizations like mine, who plan and attend outside events, understand the policy and discuss where we think there could be improvements.”
Students emphasized the need for a succinct and clear definition of what is a service animal and what is an emotional support animal, and a fair policy for having these animals on campus.
A student who has a service animal expressed discontent with both the College’s definitions of various support animals, as well as the rule that one must be in possession of a service animal for at least six months before bringing it to the College.
Students also brought up the importance of the cash-sharing app Venmo, which allows users to send each other money digitally and without cash.
Students stressed how this app is useful for student organizations like the Student Finance Board, which needs to transfer funds to clubs without the potential possibility of physical cash being misplaced or misused.
Bapasola believed the meeting was a success and expressed intent to have more meetings with students in the future. Students were satisfied as well, and hope that similar forums become more popular in the future.
“I’m glad they held the meeting to allow students to directly address administration with concern about certain policies,” Chlebowski said. “I’d definitely want them to hold more open forums, but we don’t always get the turn out we hope for.”