SGA discusses results of recent online survey
Publicity Chair Justin Rouse ’12 informed representatives of the results of last week’s Student Government Association (SGA) online survey at the meeting Sunday, October 31.
Rouse said it was an “extremely successful survey week,” with about half of the College campus submitting responses. The first question on the survey asked students if they “think that understanding of diversity issues and support for multicultural affairs are lacking at Colby.” However, of the 963 students who completed the survey, “surprisingly, the majority of students said that they didn’t think these were issues at Colby,” Rouse said, with 54.1 percent of students responding “no” to the question.
Thus, with regards to issues of multiculturalism on the Hill as a whole, “half the campus is very aware of these things, and the people who are aware of them think they’re a problem,” Rouse said. Otherwise, issues of multiculturalism are “either a problem [the remaining students are] not aware of, or a problem they think doesn’t personally affect them.”
Rouse also said that there is an ongoing discussion to develop a working group that is dedicated to addressing issues of diversity. It is similar in structure to the existing Campus Culture Working Group (CCWG). The CCWG was issued by the Board of Trustees and consists of students, faculty and administrators who are working primarily to address the drinking culture on campus, most recently through the implementation of the hard alcohol ban. The group on diversity, however, would be a SGAâ€ˆinitiative rather than by issue of the Board.
In the survey, students who believed that multiculturalism and diversity are problems on the Hill were asked to identify “the biggest problem that SGA can address” with regards to these issues. Students were asked to identify one of three factors, including “vaguely constructed diversity requirements for graduation,” “inadequate funding and support for multicultural events and programming” and “failure of Colby to have a senior-level Dean devoted to Multicultural Affairs.” This third option was the most popular, receiving 56.9 percent of votes. “People specifically mentioned that they think the lack of a dean was the most prevalent issue SGA could address, but all three things were of concern to respondents,” Rouse said.
The survey also addressed the issue of dorm damage, asking students if they “think stricter punishments for dorm damage (which could include but are not limited to community service, higher fines and/or disciplinary action) would be effective in reducing the amount of dorm damage.” Rouse said that overall, “people are supportive of higher fines and stricter punishments for people who are caught doing dorm damage,” but respondents still expressed that oftentimes damage is completed by those who are visitors to a particular dorm, not residents themselves.
Additionally, 87 percent of students supported expanding the movie-rental system in Miller Library, as Redbox has denied the College a kiosk based on its population size. Rouse and Laura Maloney ’12, who wrote the survey questions, clarified that although some students opposed the idea because they did not want to pay for movies, all of the movies in the library would be rented out to students free of charge.
Rouse said that the SGA survey “is going to be a monthly thing,” and future surveys will “address more the campus-wide issues and less of the little things.” Students may be asked to complete follow-up questions referencing the October survey, or look at questions from a different perspective.
He also emphasized that, “in the past, SGA surveys haven’t always been great on following through at the things they discover….I really want to enforce that we are going to address the problems students addressed in the survey, we are using these to act.”
This week, the SGA will make the survey results public to the entire student body by placing table tents with the data throughout the dining halls and distributing handouts.
Other news from the executive board included that Vice President Athul Ravunniarath ’11 announced that “last year there was a plan to write a statement of student rights and responsibilities [and] we’ll start reworking on it again.”
Leonard Dorm President Becca McAfee ’13 announced her plans to make Pulver Pavilionâ€ˆ more student-oriented. She has already found someone to paint a mural in the Lower Programming Spaceâ€ˆ(LoPo) and is working to form a committee to select student artwork to hang in Pulver. She also plans to replace the small clock in Pulver with a larger one.
The SGA also approved four clubs during the meeting: Her Campus Colby, the Colby Social Entrepreneurs, the Colby DJs and the Hip-Hop Alliance.