ASSOU Townhall Meeting 5/25/2022

The town hall had begun with the land acknowledgment, then a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shootings in the last couple of weeks.

The town hall meeting was the biggest one all year and brought many different students. There were also several faculty members, including SOU President Rick Bailey.

The first talking point was a recap of the first two townhalls this term. They went over parking, meal plans, housing, and OSPRIG, and went especially into the parking situation with President Bailey there to hear the complaints about the lack of parking on campus, especially for students living on campus. An issue brought up was those theater students who live on campus and have to walk back to their rooms don’t feel safe at night due to how dark it gets. Rick Bailey wants to address the areas that could be more lit up and address that with the city. For housing, the faculty got to hear the issues with the Hawk and meal plans, such as the lack of transparency with the Hawk foods, along with Madrone residents and the mandatory meal plan. Allyson Beck of housing had mentioned that they are bringing back a food committee to hear students’ issues regarding the food on campus.

Another issue brought was the lack of publicity for changes on campus. An example is that students can now use a meal from their meal plans at Elmo’s within the Stevenson Union. The idea was to use Instagram to promote this kind of change, though this led to another issue that was brought up with so many SOU accounts on Instagram exist. In addition, the clubs and events also use Instagram, and there are issues with how slow it is, as it takes 30 minutes for a page to go up and sometimes even that will not work. There was a brainstorming moment on how to promote events and make sure they don’t get drowned out in the flood of information to students. SOU aims to streamline a lot of the web services by switching to the workday for all kinds of web services, from registering for classes to employees clocking in their hours. This transition is getting to begin by the end of the year. A key point was getting word of mouth for events and so on through things like SOU’s Yik Yak, asking your teachers to promote events, and using more TVs across campus to advertise events as you see in Shasta and Mclaughlin. Such as the TVs in The Stevenson Union and Madrone Hall. Also, it’s been an ongoing confusion as to why Shasta and Mclaughlin residents can’t get into Madrone, but Madrone residents can enter those dorms. The vital system Madrone uses is slowly being updated and should eventually allow Shasta and Mclaughlin residents to enter Madrone for Madrone’s events.

An idea Rick Bailey is working on is to turn Cascade halls into a senior living facility for retirees to get more funding for the school. But while this can be a revenue generator for students and help fund businesses to be open past 8:00 PM on campus, some students had issues with how the Rogue Valley has enough senior centers, and both the school and the city of Ashland should prioritize college students over seniors when it comes to housing. However, Bailey is open to the higher floors of the building going towards student housing.

Just before the town hall meeting had adjourned, OSPRIG had a chance to tell President Bailey about their recent defunding for the next academic year and how they won’t be able to do entire campus organizing next year. They made their case to Bailey as he has a significant say in the budget for the campus. However, as of right now, President Bailey, and while Bailey says he is a fan of OSPRIG’s work, he respects the board’s decision regarding OSPRIG and wants to have a dialogue with OSPRIG to find ways to help them with their funding issues.

Adjournment was at 7:37.

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