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SG to host roundtable to hear student concerns

 

In an event that is the first of its kind, a roundtable discussion with Student Government (SG) will be held tonight to provide solutions to the gripes of an expansive student body.

From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Chambers on the fourth floor of the Marshall Student Center, SG will host an open forum to allow students to voice concerns and smooth over any disconnects perceived between the governing body and the student body.

Scott Sandoval, a senior majoring in English literature and the chairman of the Senate Committee on University Affairs, said the event was created to address the needs of students who have expressed discontent with the function of SG.

“The key thing is that this stems from an issue which a lot of people have been complaining (about),” he said. “They feel that Student Government isn’t helping their organization or helping them develop, just solely as a entity of the University.”

The event, which is open to all USF students, will be divided into two segments. The first part will enable students to present any questions or concerns in an open forum, and the second will have students work with SG officers to draft resolutions to address those concerns.

According to the event’s Facebook page, more than 35 students are planning to attend the roundtable. Antonio Morales, a sophomore majoring in criminology, said he is interested to know what SG can do to increase school pride, but said he also wanted to go there to listen.

“I want to hear what students are asking of Student Government,” he said. “I want to see what’s on everybody’s mind at the University.” 

Others, including members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), are going into the roundtable with concerns over tuition.

Catherine Lim, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences and SDS member, said she will be attending the roundtable to talk about tuition hikes and Rally in Tally, an SG-sponsored lobbying trip to Tallahassee that Lim said was a “huge disappointment.”

“We just wanted to voice our disappointment to Student Government,” she said. “If we have something to say, we want someone to take our purpose seriously and the roundtable (event’s description) says we can voice our opinion at the event, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

She said SDS is also interested to hear SG’s opinions on the new student philanthropy group Bull Raisers, which was established by the USF Foundation.

“Recently, USF has started recruiting students to go around and ask other students for donations to help fund financial aid and on-campus organizations,” she said. “And so knowing tuition is increasing, (the) Bright Futures (Scholarship) is going to get cut, students asking other students for donations just seems a little ridiculous.” Abdool Aziz, a senior majoring in biology and the SG senator who created the event, said the event will help SG address what is relevant to students.

“Student Government offices are elected to represent students from various colleges,” he said. “It’s very important for us to know all their concerns.”

Sandoval said he hopes the event will give students more of a say in the University.

“What we’d like to do is formulate some resolutions on how to bridge the gap between Student Government and the student body,” he said. “We really want to hear the voices and concerns of the organizations and the students, because it’s just as much their University as it is ours.”