By ALLIE ENGLERT
Just a small town girl
Last week, the BackPage portrayed the concerns students have with the current state of our campus. Through these interviews, and from several conversations with my peers, this writer has come to the conclusion that the transparency clause, GC’s decision to potentially join the NCAA Division II, our small freshmen class and our dated housing facilities are issues that we students view as obstacles our college must overcome in order to improve our institution. Last week, I sat down with Dr. Gambill to voice the concerns of the student body and understand the administrative view on these issues.
When asked about the transparency clause, Dr. Gambill stated, “I believe in the practice of transparency when it is appropriate. The policy states that when a student organization is disciplined, the reason for the disciplinary measures become knowledge shared with the student body. Because the transparency clause is reserved for groups, information regarding individual student punishment cannot be released. Furthermore, this policy does not require the college to release a statement when a faculty or staff member is let go or fired. Honestly, sharing such information would be inppropriate in most cases. The unrest regarding the transparency policy often regards students’ desire to know about the decisions made by our administration and the rationale behind those said decisions.” Dr. Gambill encourages GC students to ask questions. “Communication is a mutual responsibility. I’m sure there are many things that I could share with students, but I need to know what our students want to know. Sometimes students assume that the administration is intentionally withholding information, but really, we have no clue that the students want the information.” Dr. Gambill makes a good point. In order to be “in the know” we must ask questions to not only inform ourselves about particular situations, but also to voice our satisfaction, or the lack thereof, when necessary. Communication is essential for this to occur, and we as students must be part of this conversation.
In regards to our poor housing facilities on campus, Dr. Gambill stated that by working with a consulting firm this year, the college has created a fifteen- year plan to replace the majority of our housing. The college hired KLAUDIS Group, an organization that partnered with Anderson Strichler, a housing consulting firm, in an effort to make the changes necessary on campus to satisfy current Georgetown students and also attract more prospective students. The first step of this housing plan is to build a third town house. “While I am very proud of Rucker and Hambrick, we are by no means finished. We have a couple of crucial steps to follow up with and this includes sprucing up the existing housing. We recognize that we must invest in renovating now in order to make it possible to live in our current dorms for another decade or so.”
Another issue that this fifteen-year plan will address will be the need for handicap accessibility on campus. Dr. Gambill believes that we have an ethical responsibility to cater to the needs of our students with handicaps. It is difficult to renovate older buildings to make them handicap accessibile, and the majority of Georgetown’s buildings were built prior to the mandates of the American’s with Disabilities Act. However, Dr. Gambill assured this writer that the need for handicap accessibility is something the administration realizes and will be included in the fifteen year housing plan.
Dr. Gambill also explained that he understands students’ frustration with living in our dorms. Students are often annoyed when they send in maintenance requests that aren’t addressed for weeks or months. Recently, the college hired a new facilities director, Bart Horn. Dr. Gambill said that “now when you submit a work request, you’ll get an automated work reply and a number so you can see the status of your request. Another email will be sent once the issue has been addressed.”
Georgetown’s small freshmen class size has many concerned about the future of our institution. Dr. Gambill stated that there are many reasons why this decrease occurred. “Last year we essentially operated without a Vice-President of enrollment in our admissions office.” Although those working in the admissions office were certainly doing their best to ensure that this would be a successful year at GC, Dr. Gambill explained that “we had a void in leadership” by not having this position filled. However, our dean of students is very satisfied with the leadership of Michelle Lynch, Georgetown’s new VP of enrollment. Lynch is focusing on the importance of the campus visit to ensure that prospective students have a good experience when they visit GC. According to Dr. Gambill, we can expect our enrollment to increase over the next few years. “We may not bounce back completely in one year, but I believe it is possible to do in two years. I think she (Michelle) will do great things.”
Another topic of concern is some students’worry that GC will seek admittance into a division of the NCAA. Dr. Gambill stated that if Georgetown leaves the NAIA, it would be because the college was accepted into the NCAA Division II. “The board of trustees did not support the idea of becoming a Division III school. Our only options are to stay in the NAIA or seek acceptance into the Division II of the NCAA.” Unlike the NCAA’s Division III, which would void the college’s option to award students with athletic scholarships, Dr. Gambill explained that if GC became a part of the NCAA Division II, the number of scholarships available for athletics would be similar to what Georgetown offers now. Although the competition would change in terms of the schools we would play, becoming a part of (the NCAA’s) Division II would be similar to what we are now (as a part of the NAIA).”
It is the opinion of this writer that we students are often quick to complain without working to improve the problems we see on campus. Dr. Gambill is more than willing to “…meet with students one on one, answer emails and do whatever it takes to hear from students.” In order to change the issues students believe are affecting our campus, we must be willing to voice our concern. This Friday, Nov. 2, Dr. Gambill will be in the Mulberry Café at 3 p.m. to answer any questions students have concerning the future of our college. It is obvious that our administration wants to hear from the student body. This writer can only hope that if we truly care about Georgetown and hope to see it thrive, each of us will take this opportunity to voice our opinions. As Dr. Gambill said, “This is a place that many people care deeply about. The next 12-18 months will be a pivotal point for our institution.” We each have the opportunity and duty to do our part in ensuring Georgetown’s success, and this begins by voicing your concerns and ideas.
And if you don’t know, now you know, Tigas.