We need to talk. It’s important. There is a problem with the state of Minnesota. It doesn’t have any money. As a result, Bemidji State is facing $5 million in budget cuts (this money will not come back), which in turn has led President Hanson to begin his “Recalibration” of the university. According to the Recalibration plan, Art History and Theatre are to be eliminated, many other programs reduced, and several programs set to expand. There is a lot of emotion going around campus. This is understandable and expected. This is a plan that affects all of us, and many students are determined to make their voices heard.
But the question is, where are you?
Student Senate is the official voice of the students, and that is not just a phrase we like to throw around because it sounds cool, but because it is made official by MnSCU board policy 2.3. Over 300 students attended the Recalibration forum on Thursday, January 20 in HS 100, determined to ask questions and provide feedback to President Hanson. However, at our Student Senate meeting the following Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Crying Wolf room, nobody spoke during Student Public Hearing to voice their concerns regarding Recalibration.
In response, Student Senate organized a student-only discussion concerning Recalibration for Wednesday, February 2. A small group of 57 students showed up to discuss Recalibration with student senators, and while there was a lot of great and constructive discussion with those involved, we can’t help but wonder where the rest of the student body was at that time. Of course, academics and prior commitments come first, but this is your university.
We need you, the students, to come before the Student Senate and let us know your ideas. Student Senate will be writing the official response to administration regarding Recalibration, and we cannot and will not do that without first hearing from you, our students. We were elected by you to represent you. We encourage you to come to our Student Senate meetings every Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Crying Wolf room. If you cannot make it to our Student Senate meetings, please stop by our Student Senate office in the Upper Union or email us at email@example.com.
Michael Meehlhause and Ashley Tenney
Student Senate Co-Presidents