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Solving problems on campus

The office of Student Affairs exclusively deals with student activities, policy changes and grievances. There are a few different avenues that students can go through to articulate concerns, or to start the process of policy change.

Student Senate is one of the oldest organizations on campus. They are therefore, the traditional way that student voices are heard by the administration.

“For issues that are kind of on the surface and probably don’t have to be addressed immediately, that’s where the Student Senate would be the best vehicle,” said Dr. Austin Lane, vice president of Student Affairs.

The Senate addresses many student concerns. Both simple and complicated legislation passes through them. A resolution is a suggestion to a higher power that they ought to do something. These are simple things like forming committees. Constitutional amendments and policy changes are complicated. Examples of these are the Smoking ban and the implanting of the student Life fee.

A resolution passes through the senate with a simple majority vote. A policy change or amendment must have a full 2/3 majority.

From there it leaves the Student Senate and must go through the higher chains of command. It goes through Scott Nalley, director of Student Activities, to Dr. Austin Lane, vice president of Student Affairs, to The President of the college, Dr. Mike Metke, to the board of trustees, where it is finalized.

“It’s fairly easy to get a resolution recognized. To get a resolution passed is another story,” said Royce T. Eller, former Student Senate president.

“To get recognized and to have people hear your ideas is a very easy process, you just have to contact Student Senate.”

RHA serves as a student governing board for students living on campus and are involved with changing policies. They have representation from each dorm hall as well as a board of executives that are elected.

All students who live on campus are automatically members and can come to the meetings.

To get a change of policy passed, the RHA would first assemble a committee that works exclusively on the issue. The committee puts together a presentation for the whole organization and the vote on it. If passed, it would then go to Angela Nunez, director of housing. Then either Nunez or the students would pitch it to Lane for the final word.

“[We have an] open-door policy for anyone here. [Students] are welcome to come and talk to us about any policy procedure or even talk to us about what is going on in the halls because we definitely want to know,” said Angela Nunez, director or Residential Life and Housing.

Vice President of Student Affairs Advisory Council is a twice-a-semester meeting with Lane to discuss complaints, suggestions, concerns, and compliments as they relate to TJC. Any student is welcome to attend.

Since the meetings are only held twice a semester, it is a little hard to find out about the meeting. An announcement is put up on Apache Access, an Apache Alert is sent out, and flyers are posted.

“After that meeting, I go right back into my staff meeting and talk to my directors,” said Lane.

An agenda will be prepared in advance. This includes follow-ups on the issues presented in the previous meeting and new items on the agenda.

If there is a particularly large issue, Lane may bring in a representative from that department to help give the council some perspective. For example if parking issues are on the agenda, Campus Safety Chief Randy Melton may be present with his numbers on parking violations and parking spaces.

“My title when I first got here was Dean of Students… If [students] don’t know where to go, they can always come to [my] office and get some answers,” said Lane. “If we don’t have the answers, we’re going to find the people that [do] and we are going to do that pretty quickly.”

Theses are the primary organizations that give students a path to express their grievances, complaints, concerns or opinions the office of Student Affairs.

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