Dear Rensselaer Community Members,
I am sure you have heard over the last week, there is a great amount of unrest that has become apparent on campus. Students, alumni, and faculty have made their voice clear to me in a variety of ways, and I have heard them. Since Marcus and I became aware of the issues, we have been working tirelessly around the clock. In all of my meetings with administrators, from the Vice President of Student Life to the President, I have been advocating for the student voice, and working for change that will benefit all stakeholders here at Rensselaer. However, I would like to clear the air of one rumor—I have not been organizing any protests, I have not been recommending alumni withhold donations, and I have not been rabble rousing. I know that I, as a person, have strong opinions regarding many of the events that have been unfolding, but I know that I have a duty to my constituents and to the Rensselaer community. My job has been primarily to inform individuals of the events as they have occurred and to provide informative documents without bias. I have been advocating for students in all avenues, and have been giving my all to support the betterment of the Rensselaer community. I represent all students, and have distilled the many opinions I have heard into three main points.
The first is the reestablishment of lost communication channels. In the past, GMs and PUs had quarterly meetings with the chairman of the Board of Trustees, monthly meetings with the president, and almost open door policies with the vice president for Student Life. This helped students to be informed and to understand the larger picture of the Institute and how it worked. Over the past few years these doors have gradually closed, to the point where meetings with the vice president have been monthly but overflowing with information exchanges.
The second is the preservation of the history and tradition of the Rensselaer Union, and the roles therein. For 125 years we have operated as one of the oldest student-run unions in the US, and have supported Rensselaer throughout more than half of its history. Today, we are one of the last few remaining that is student run at a private institution. With the current restructuring of Student Life as proposed, students are concerned on the future of the Union and how it works into the restructure. Students are concerned about the creation of new positions, such as the Executive Director of Student Activities, and how they relate to the Director of the Union and the Union at large.
The third is the inclusion of students in the planning and decision making processes of the Institute. Students are invested stakeholders in the Institute and want to work for the betterment and success of Rensselaer however they can. This restructuring of the Student Life portfolio came largely without staff or student input. There are many gaps in the information that has been provided, and it has led to a student body anxious to learn about the changes that will be affecting many of the aspects of the student experience that they hold near and dear.
This experience has opened my eyes to many things, and I am confident it will stand as a distinct memory in my college career. I have committed myself to seeing this through no matter what. Marcus and I hope to work alongside students, administrators, faculty, alumni, and community members alike to reach a compromise that supports the diverse makeup of RPI. Although we have been able to meet with Dr. Jackson and Dr. Ross, the conversation is just beginning and we are eager to work together.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns on these issues or others please reach out to me at any time. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. My office hours are Mondays and Thursdays from noon–1pm. My PUb chats are Wednesdays from 6 pm–8 pm. Please let me know your thoughts, and how I can help you. Stay strong, RPI.