I attend a Quaker college in the Southeastern part of the United States. This college has changed and trained me to become a critical thinker and a global mind. It is a writing intensive college. I recall writing an essay for a math class once. Guilford College is not for the faint of heart, nor for the weak minded.
However, this is due to the excellence in education. One of seven prongs of Guilford's core values is equality. The Board of Trustees at my college have to make some tough decisions. They are not alone. Liberal arts colleges are facing troubling times. In the letter below, as a consumer (or product) of a college, I hoped to bring my message to the trustees.
How are things at your college? Do you think we are doing all we can for faculty and staff? If the answer is no, then we should be getting creative. Doing less is exploitation of professors who work long and hard so that we students leave with a solid education.
Below find my "Open Letter To Guilford College's Board of Trustees" which was originally published at Guilford's award-winning student newspaper, The Guilfordian
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I do not feel many student voices are being heard by your body -- or for that matter, administrators. This requires your undivided attention.
During your last meeting I heard three blatant falsehoods. First, although we wanted to speak with you in a "town hall" format, we were given a vetted show. A trustee stood at the podium and said that our student governments had collected questions beforehand. I nearly buckled in my seat when I heard that.
There were only four questions asked. One of which was "what class would you teach if you were a professor?"
Our questions and concerns were not even touched on.
That is hardly allowing you and the student body to get to know each other. There should be a better avenue to communicate with us. If students are not included, the entire community loses out on what could be a very constructive conversation.
Simply saying that one or two students who actively attend your meetings represent a lion's share of those who attend Guilford College could not be further from the truth.
Second, where the presidential search is concerned, there is not adequate student representation. This is one of the most crucial decisions that the College will make in the coming years. Those who line the hallways of this school care about where the next leader will steer this ship.
We need a leader who we can connect to and believe in. As it stands, it seems like this whole business of transparency is a sham.
Please, if you have to use the "hybrid" process to hire the next president of the college, do not say that we students have proper representation. Rather, say there is a student who sits on the committee.
Also, for the students who are fed up with our professors coming in dead last for pay, saying that we should air those grievances through our student governments is not helpful. When I reached out to my student government, I was told they had better issues to deal with than faculty pay.
Professors have not put us up to saying this. They still hand out assignments that make my brain pop. However, they deserve a fair wage for the hard work they give. This should not be something reserved only for administrators.
Simply saying that the budget cannot handle the weight of this issue undermines the institution. All that tells us is that you haven't worked hard enough to make sure administrators get creative and come up with a way to compensate the lifeblood of this institution.
We have students who are beginning to wonder if Guilford is taking on the Walmart philosophy when hiring professors. If you don't listen to the students, they will go to places where the people with power embody their mission statement.
And by shutting out voices you purport to include, you are shunning the very ethos you claim to uphold. Where students are concerned, our voices are not represented accurately.
This must change, or you should acknowledge that you are going forward without the input from those and the families of those who invest money, semester after semester, to this community that we love.
A Humble Student,