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Student Government hosts biannual town hall meeting

By Nick Buth–
The biggest concerns brought to the attention of administrators at a recent Town Hall meeting included conflicts scheduling classes (including when classes are offered), and security of students’ belongings in their dorms and their cars while parked on campus.

The biannual meeting March 29 allowed students to express their concerns to seven administrators and staff members. Present were: President John Reynders; Dean Bill Deeds; Vice President for Student Services and Admissions Terri Curry; Dean of Students Robbie Rohlena; Executive Director of Information Services Andy Heiser; Director of the Physical Plant Kirk Johnson; and Director of Student Financial Planning Karen Gagnon.

Responding to scheduling concerns, President Reynders said, “If you have questions about your academic program or about staffing, you ought to go to see Bill right away.  He has the same open door policy that we all do.”

The question of the security of the doors in Dimmitt was brought up by one of Dimmitt’s residents.

Robbie Rohlena helped respond to this by emphasizing the need for a resident to report to a member of the residence life staff if his or her door isn’t latching or locking properly.

“A lot of times it’s just an adjustment,” said Kirk Johnson, backing up Rohlena’s statement.  “All we need is a phone call and we can get there and try to help you out.  Some of them are loose and we just have to know about it and we can correct most of that.”

Karen Gagnon addressed questions that arose about financial aid, saying that the amount you receive based on athletics or academics will not change over your four years at Morningside.  This helps a student and his or her family when they are trying to figure out budgeting.

“It’s good or bad, but you have to pre-plan a little bit,” said Gagnon.  “On the same token, if you’ve got the Dean’s scholarship and your grades aren’t quite where we want to see them, we won’t take that away either.”

Security within the parking lots came up as an issue, with Dustin Potter, an RA from the Plex, informing the panel that some students had confronted one of the people breaking into a car, not knowing what else to do.

“Call 9-1-1,” Reynders responded to this anecdote, showing the same surprise as the rest of the panel.

Potter then expressed concern that the lot behind the building seems extremely vulnerable.  This was backed up by Claire Gibbons, a freshman tenant of the Plex and student government representative.

“We don’t really have people parking there anymore because it’s not properly lighted.”

“We’ll look at lighting,” Reynders replied to this concern.

“Last year, they had the light up almost immediately, behind the HPER,” added Student Body President, Heather Nielsen.

“You mentioned the HPER a year ago, and we took care of that right away,” said Reynders.  He and Johnson both commented, “If you have any of those areas, let us know.”

The meeting wrapped up with the panel members reiterating that students should not hesitate to come ask for assistance if they need it.