By Trent Cooper
Student Senate hosted an Open Forum on Tuesday in which students had the opportunity to pose questions to TJC administrators.
A panel of representatives from Financial Aid, Residential Life, Campus Police and Information Technology were among those available for questioning. However, Aramark and Business Services were unable to participate. More than 50 students and faculty attended the event.
Students submitted written questions throughout the meeting, raising concerns about Wi-Fi, new buildings and campus safety among others issues.
Questions for the IT department pertained mainly to the TJC Wi-Fi. When asked why wireless signal is weak in several buildings, IT Executive Director Rick Besch told students that the department is trying to bring in some newer technology and replace some of the older equipment.
“Frankly it just doesn’t have the capacity for what we are trying to do now. With many of you carrying multiple devices, we really have about 42,000 users on the Wi-Fi at any given time when it was originally designed for about 15,000,” said Besch.
A student also raised the issue that he was unable to log into the Wi-Fi designated for students using his A-number. Besch determined that it could be problems with the login information not syncing to the system, and directed students to come by his office in the Wise Administration building and get the problem resolved.
“From my perspective, I got absolutely no question I didn’t expect because we know that there are things that are either potential issues or things that we are currently working on,” said Besch. He noted that the building on campus with the weakest Wi-Fi was Pirtle, due to the fact that it is constructed of cement. “It’s not that we don’t want to fix it, but again, we have a budget, too.”
A student asked the question but received no answer regarding Higher One cards not activating. There wasn’t a representative from Business Services in attendance, but students were directed to the Business Services office in the Wise Administration building.
A student asked what the protocol is for trespassers in the dorm rooms. Housing Director Diana Karol clarified that residents are able to bring TJC students in to the dorms with them as long as they sign in. Police Chief Randy Melton said that non-TJC students in the dorms are to be reported to campus police and they will be warned.
A student asked when the cable will be fixed in the dorms. The housing director referenced the change that Suddenlink made on Oct. 6 when they switched to digital throughout the city of Tyler.
“If you’re having difficulty, please contact the housing office, your hall staff, or your room adviser and ask for help,” Karol said
The panel of administrators received nearly equal feedback from the students in attendance, tallying up to about seven questions for each panel member. Questions submitted during the forum that were directed for either Aramark or Business Services will be submitted to them and answered in an upcoming student senate meeting.
“The meeting overall went very well,” said TJC student Jimmy Fortune. “However, I was disappointed that Aramark did not not show up.”
Aramark is the food service provider for TJC and operates the food in the cafeteria, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A and Subway. The office is located on the first floor of Rogers Student Center for students with any food-service questions.
For the final question of the forum, a student asked when the band will be getting a new band hall or a sign to help locate the band hall.
“Dr. Kim Russell and Mr. Mitch Andrews have been working on fundraising for that hall for a long time now. Where they are? I don’t know, but it’s certainly on the drawing board,” said Financial Aid Director, Devon Wiggins.
“For funding buildings and things like that, we need our alumni to step up and make those donations,” Wiggins told students. “When you guys graduate and become rich and famous alums, I’m sure that our Alumni Department would appreciate any donations that you would make to fund new buildings.”
New buildings and parking lots on campus are things that the administration and students would like to see and utilize. However, there is a lack of funding and space. As Chief Melton said, “the regular tuition fees that you guys [students] pay that make up our normal budget is not enough to do it.”