ASSOU held a town hall meeting on April 27th within the Stevenson Union. These town halls are for the students to communicate directly with ASSOU about campus and academic life issues. The focus of this one was just an intimate meeting that did not have the presence of people like SOU President Rick Bailey.
As the town hall began, the first item was the land acknowledgment, and introductions were made for those at the meeting right as the town hall began. Next, various people joined the town hall, including ASSOU members, honor college students, and the Asian student union members.
Next, ASSOU members told people attending to follow the ASSOU social accounts on Instagram. After that was a reminder that elections are coming up with the deadline to apply on Friday the 29th and campaigning for elections begins May 6th. The positions of the President, vice president, and all senate seats are open. If you are running for President, you will need a running mate for vice president and vice versa.
The first talking point was how SOU has dropped the mask mandate and how students felt about it. ASSOU president Gabby has noticed that students are getting sick with one of her classes this past week, resulting in only six of the 31 students attending one of her classes. It also felt weird for many that they were doing tests in person without masks.
The second talking point was parking on the campus. Students feel there aren’t enough parking spaces; one student mentioned that he wishes there were no parking fees. Other wishes were the at least warnings for not having a parking pass—even a reminder to renew a parking pass before issuing a fine. ASSOU speaker Keeley Reiners wishes there was a longer gap to respond to getting a ticket, and she got one for not responding in 8 hours. A consensus was that campus public safety should be more transparent, not just with parking but also in general. Some did suggest that there should be a scaling system in terms of fines for repeat offenders. There is an unfair punishment for first-time offenders.; however, repeat offenders are not bothered by the punishment. The suggestion is to make some of the unfilled spots in the music building’s parking lot exclusive for residents. There is a lack of parking for students who live in the resident halls most of the time. Another talking point was how hard it was to find off-campus housing for students. The dorms are very expensive, and the lack of housing in Ashland makes it difficult. While there is a website for off-campus housing hosted by SOU, there is not a lot of advertising by the school for this, and the students struggle with communicating with the Housing department when it comes to finding places to live. Though President Rick Bailey has started working with the city of Ashland to turn Cascade Halls into an affordable housing complex for students, it will take years for this conversion to happen, however.
In case you missed last month’s town hall, the next ones will be on May 11th and the 23rd.