Colin Kaepernick is not the only individual making waves demonstrating their First Amendment right.
On Friday, The South Texan Twitter exploded when individuals began responding to a picture of a student who garnered nearly 200 signatures for a petition she and four others started after many TAMUK students were experiencing problems with their financial aid packages.
The petition serves to voice the frustration many Texas A&M University-Kingsville students share due to the apparent lack of communication from the financial aid office.
Crystal King, a senior studying criminology, spent several hours Friday afternoon gathering signatures for her petition. She and four other students, unaffiliated to any university organization, agreed to start getting signatures together in order to voice their frustration.
King initially began hearing of the issues developing within the financial aid department when she would talk to classmates and residents while serving as a resident advisor. “It started off with some problems with my financial aid…only because things were either not told to me or processed late,” King said. The issues King and many other students faced came only weeks before the start of the fall semester. Emails from the university’s financial aid office informing students that additional documentation was required to complete their FAFSA verification process did nothing to relief the financial ailments felt by King and other students.
The one point Lisa L. Seals, financial aid interim executive director, wants to get across to students is that communication is always key. In regard to students receiving notifications about missing documentation needed by the United States Department of Education, Seals said, “Anything we had to (do), we did. We sent and emailed, and we explained why we had to do it.”While the financial aid office was not willing to disperse funds to students without properly determining the correct amount to be allotted, Seals said it is TAMUK’s obligation to make sure the proper amount is given to students.
She said, if any funds were to be put into a students account in excess, there is a possibility the federal government may ask for the funds to be returned, in which the university would be forced to pay those funds, thus forcing an unexpected fee onto the student.
“I do understand that they were not happy initially…if someone [tells you] they have everything, [but then] they now have to redo something, and now you need [to send in additional information], I get it. But at the end of the day, it’s better that I found that out now.”
Seals message to students who feel like their voices are not being heard is to realize the answers to their questions are only a phone call, email, or one visit to the financial aid office away.
“We are not trying to leave anybody high and dry. There is no conspiracy. I don’t know what this petition isgoing to do or what they wanted it to do, but they could have just asked me. We’re not trying to hide anything.”
King hopes to let campus officials know the students who are signing the petition are not looking for more money, only understanding.
“We want the administration to hear us and help us understand why there is such a big mess,” King said.