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A&M-Commerce holds first student forum of semester

By Adam Troxtell
On February 16, 2011

The first Student Forum of the spring semester was held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16, in the Pride Room of the Sam Rayburn Student Center. Vice President for Student Access and Success Dr. Mary Hendrix led the discussion during which students had an opportunity to voice concerns and comments.

Hendrix began the meeting with a few announcements and statements, the first of which involved impending budget cuts by the state of Texas on universities. She said a number of grants and loans the state usually gives to students, specifically the Texas B-On-Time Loan, were in jeopardy of being reduced or completely eliminated, and A&M-Commerce will be working with students affected the most by these changes.

She also said the university would be looking to help education students graduating in the near future who may struggle to find a job.

"We're going to be offering help for those in [teacher education]," Hendrix said. "We are very concerned for people graduating on loans who have to find jobs."

Her next statement was about the recent incident involving freshman wide receiver Kenzee Jackson. Jackson was cited for entering the SRSC cafeteria without his Lion card, and Hendrix said both the card and the rules about it exist for a purpose.

"Our ID card is not only for food, but other access on campus," she said. "We're hearing about students loaning cards. Think about if that card is used to get in somewhere on campus and something gets stolen. UPD would go after the owner of the card."

She also had a statement about the graffiti found on the Science Building and Art Building on campus, and asked students who have information regarding the identity of the graffiti artist to come forward.

"This is your university," Hendrix said. "When someone defaces a building, they are defacing your university. If you know who this is, please pass that on."

Hendrix then referenced two East Texan opinion articles that questioned university policies. The first was an article from this week about the goals involving enrollment and whether or not that was resulting in a lowering of standards for acceptance to A&M-Commerce. Hendrix said the average composite ACT score for the high school class of 2010, which was 20.93. The average composite score for Texas was 20.8.

The other article Hendrix mentioned brought up the treatment of freshmen students compared to that of upperclassmen on two specific instances: housing and academic advising.

This was also brought up later by sophomore pre-med and psychology double-major Unswella Ankton.

"It seems like it's a lot about the freshmen," Ankton said. "We already have Whitley as freshmen only. You're going to give them a new dorm. Maybe we could have the new dorm with juniors, seniors and grad students, and Smith and Berry should be all freshmen."

Director of Residential Living and Learning Dennis Koch said while the freshmen will get this new residence hall, plans are in place for four more new ones are currently being discussed and not all of those will be freshmen only.

"We had to start somewhere with residential living and learning," he said.

Koch continued to take questions regarding housing, which included plans to renovate Craddock Hall that are "in the plan" and issues concerning Whitley Hall's problem with heating and air conditioning and wasps.

"That's kind of a mother nature issue, because she'll just bring them back," Koch said about the wasps. "Central heating and air is on the to-do list."

Other topics discussed included school spirit, Sodexo's catering prices, and repairing the hot tub at the Morriss Recreation Center. Director of Career Services Tina Boitnott also addressed a question about difficulty finding on campus job listings. Boitnott said the Career Development service Lion Tracks would soon be expanding.

"This is one place you can go to find internships, part-time jobs, and full-time jobs," she said. "We are working to roll in campus jobs."

A&M-Commerce students with further questions can post them on the Student Forum's Facebook page.

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