On November 1 2011, the first forum where students could meet ,more or less, face to face with the Yuba Community College District Police Chief and Vice-Chancellor Al Alt took place. Finally, the students that received a ticket during the early September ticket fiasco could voice their opinions about parking and the policies that are currently in place. As well as those students, staff, or faculty that had their own solutions about parking or safety issues on campus.
Chief Osbourn showed a Power Point presentation where he went over the District policies concerning parking. George Cheso, the Associated Students of Yuba College President, asked about getting the policies bent a little so that those that got ticketed during the ASYC showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show Friday October 29. Cheso mentioned that it was generally those from the community that do not attend Yuba College that got ticketed but Chief Osbourn held to the District policy concerning the parking without a pass.
Dr. Mathews of the Music Department, brought up the problem of getting the word out to students about forums such as the one that was taking place. The Portal was pointed out as a definite loser. History has shown the portal to be difficult to navigate and to find information on a forum is a lost cause.
Those students that showed could be counted on one hand. Two were brought in by Cheso, two are reporters for the Prospector and one looked to be there for extra credit. The rest of the attendees were campus employees and not even students.
So what needs to be done to get the word out to students and faculty? Then, once the word is finally out, how do you get everyone to show up? I know for a fact that the word was spread through campus because I did some of it myself and I know Cheso did more than his fair share of spreading the word.
Both Vice-Chancellor Alt and Chief Osbourn attempted to get the word out to the students. They had fliers posted at eight different places on campus, notified both Cheso and the Prospector about the forum and the specifics, and posted it on the Portal.
Maybe the fliers lacked the attention grabbing graphics that are needed to get the students attention that are used to seeing a new school sponsored flier appear every week . We all know that the portal is a joke, literally, but what other options are there?
I know that Cheso mentioned the forum to as many students as he could. Even bringing it up to Professor Hsieh who made it an extra credit event for her Political Science class. Still, nobody showed but why?
Before even mentioning the possible reasons for students not showing up, we need to concentrate on why the information is not spread throughout the campus effectively. Students must know about the event before they can show and give their opinion on the issue at hand. The old standby of using the school’s online Portal to announce events has been proven time and time again to not work each time an announcement is made. The hard to find information on the Portal has become a joke, literally. When asked if you have done something that has not been done, just tell them, “it is on the Portal”, and they will just figure that the information is there but they just cannot find it in the unorganized mess.
So where do you put this information that nobody is currently getting? Dr. Mathews believes that the students are not getting the information because the campus is too limited on where the posting of fliers and posters can be. Mathews brought up the campus at American River Community College, where the students are allowed to post fliers and posters to an entire side of a building. Mathews said, “it looks like a mess with all of the fliers covering an entire building but you definitely know what’s going on on campus.”
There was also talk about sending emails to student’s Yuba College email address about upcoming events and even emergency situations such as severe weather and school closures. Although a good idea, it was pointed out that most students do not use the email that is given to each student. Just a few of the reasons for students not using the email system were given such as the address is strange, it is difficult to access, and most everyone already has an email address if not more than one.
There has also been talk of a Facebook page that can be used to notify students. The idea is that students could become “friends” with Yuba College and any important information could be sent via Facebook. This may actually be a viable option but it does need the student to make the initial contact. If students do not “friend” Yuba College then the system would not work as planned.
This brings us to the next big problem at Yuba College, why is that students do not show up? I am not talking about the “ I didn’t hear about it, it is poor communication” excuse for not showing. I am referring to the times that students are notified about the event or forum that affects them but instead they choose to just ignore its existence.
The parking ticket forum that was attended by a handful of students is a perfect example of students just not showing although they were notified. Many of the students that were notified about the forum received tickets themselves in September, yet they still never showed.
These are the same people that were “pissed off” because they received a parking ticket that they felt was unfair. Well, they must not have been too upset because when the opportunity to help make sure that this does not happen to themselves or fellow students presented itself they were nowhere to be found.
So why doesn’t anybody ever show to these meetings that could actually get a problem solved instead of complaining about the problem? Is it because everyone is scared or maybe it is because nobody really cares?
“Nobody really cares”, is the answer that I received the most from people when I asked those same questions around campus. This may be a real hurdle clear if this is true. There would be no need to notify students about what happens on campus because they wouldn’t show anyways, if they did in fact really not care. But I am hoping that this is not the case.
Right now there are more questions than answers when the problem of getting more students involved on campus with their college. Sure this is only a community college and most of us only plan to be here for two years at the longest but it is still our college. We should should take pride in the fact that we can have an actual impact on what happens on campus because of our actions. Attending these gatherings that can allow us to create a change in how our school operates is a part of attending college.
Hopefully between the administration, faculty, and students, Yuba College can finally figure out a way to communicate to the entire school. The only way this can happen will be if all of the students come together and express their feelings about what they believe should be done to improve the communication around campus.
Beginning November 28, 2011, there will be a survey on the Prospector’s website with different options that show a possibility of helping to improve campus communications. There is only one way that this survey can work and it is if you, the student, faculty member, or administrator logs onto the website and participate in the survey.