SGA panels discuss students’ concerns

Kei'Yona Jordon, Sports Writer

FMU’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted several information sessions from Feb. 12-14 for students to voice their thoughts about campus issues and learn from FMU’s employees.

Residence Life Coordinator Michael Clark, Assistant Dean of Students LaTasha Brand and Kevin Shupp from student affairs sat on the first panel about housing and student affairs.

The session began with questions about housing at FMU. Students asked if there would be any more renovations taking place on campus.

Clark told students that during the summer there is a plan in place to renovate the exterior of The Village apartments and that there had already been some new improvements in The Villas.

Students asked why housing has a policy that allows students to be locked out only three times before being charged a fee. Clark explained the policy is in place to prevent an outrageous number of lockouts for the RA’s.

“When you become consistently neglectful with leaving your keys and losing them, there is that possibility that security is being affected,” Clark said.

The next session, which was on campus technology, took place on Feb. 13.

Chief Information Officer John Dixon, Network Administrator Teresa McDuffie and Director of Campus Applications and Data Services Charlie Poag sat on the panel.

Campus Technology informed students about a new system called “Colleague” that will allow students to register their courses on a mobile app. The app will be available in both the Android and iPhone app stores.

They are also creating a new system called “Proxy,” which they said is helpful to students whose parents need their passwords to pay fees because it will allow students to choose what the parents can and cannot see on their Patriot Portal.

Students asked about the overall compatibility of the Wi-Fi for students and how it operated on campus.

McDuffie explained that FMU has two wireless networks. One is secure for faculty and students and the other is unsecured. McDuffie also explained to students that the poor coverage in the residential areas is due to students who bring routers and set up their own wireless networks.

“We do not confiscate people’s equipment,” McDuffie said. “But we do cut off their ports because we have to provide access for every user so one user cannot upset the access of another user.”

Campus Technology told students they have technicians who can take a look at students’ personal devices to help them; however, they do not fix broken computers.

“If we see a problem with a student’s computer we can make recommendations on where to take it but we don’t repair computers,” McDuffie said.

During the session, campus technology assured students there was a plan being put in place that would help enhance the Wi-Fi and that it was just a matter of time and money.

Some students who were concerned about having issues with their computers after hours wanted to know if Campus Technology could create online tutorials to help students at inconvenient times.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Dixon said. “We don’t have the capacity right now, but I think we do have the ability.”

The final session on Feb. 14 focused on dining services.

Aramark’s general manager Kellianne Dailey led the session, along with other representatives from the other dining places on campus.

Several students asked the panel to clarify FMU’s take-out policy.

Dailey told the students the to-go policy is built on the budget they are given and that budget is based on the amount of food they predict each student will eat. The current to-go policy is a student can either dine-in or take food out, but not both.

Dailey explained the reason for this is because the dining services were having trouble with students dining in and then taking food out for other students. She explained how doing so would disrupt the budget that they had put in place.

“You can imagine those of you who live on a budget, which most of us do,” Dailey said. You can’t continually give things away and not have it affect your business.”

Dailey then told students about the dining hall’s plan to “go green.” They are hoping to replace the styrofoam with reusable to-go containers that would save money and reduce waste.

Another question students had was about how the cafeteria determined their hours of operation.

Dailey told the students that the school undergoes a bidding process and during that process, they have to provide hours of operations.

“Basically, the school tells us what they want and we tell them ‘yes, we can do it’ or ‘no, we can’t,’” Dailey said. “Staying open one more hour might be very beneficial.”

Some students said they would like the ability to include a friend on their individual meal plan.

Dailey told the students that they aren’t allowed to swipe in their guest because of the strict budget that they have designed.

“We don’t have an unlimited supply of money or food,” Dailey said.

Students also learned about the volunteer and special services that FMU’s dining services offer. Dailey told students they offer catering services for on-campus events as well as personal events for students.

“We are always looking for ways to make it happen,” Dailey said. “I try to always come from a place of ‘yes.’”