Texas A&M University-Kingsville students and faculty gathered to discuss campus concerns at the President’s Round Table forum on Monday.
The semi-annual event, sponsored by the Student Government Association encourages students to have their voices heard by administration. Those present included President Dr. Steven Tallant, Provost Dr. Heidi Anderson, Dr. Terisa Riley, senior vice president for fiscal and student affairs, Randy Hughes, chief of staff, Dr. Dolores Guerrero, dean of College of Arts & Sciences; and D. Scott Gines, vice president of intercollegiate athletics and campus recreation.
Tallant addressed the now publicized Oct. 5 meeting and attempted to put to rest some persistent rumors.
According to the TAMUK president, talk of a merger is nothing new and has been a running dialogue before his administrative term began in 2008.
“This has not been a series of magical, undercover meetings,” Tallant said.
He advocated how forward thinking will promote the university’s status.
Tallant made it a point to say that A&M-Kingsville is far more advanced compared to any other sister school within the system. Considering what students in 30 years will need in order to be the best, he thought that the merger was a worthy idea to discuss.
After a series of negative stories in the local media, however, he feels the timing is not yet right to move forward.
Tallant said the merger concept lacks legislative support and is “…as dead as a doornail.
“It won’t happen for 400 years, promise,” Tallant said.
The merger was not the only major issue Tallant and other administrators addressed at the forum. The issue of parking shortages due to construction of the new music building was raised.
A portion of Manning Hall’s lot is barricaded and students are forced to play
a game of musical chairs in hopes of acquiring a spot. Tallant assured students that space would be available behind Cousins Hall, near the intramural fields, and catty-corner to the presi-dent’s house.
At the beginning of the year, students were having trouble accepting financial awards, and so financial aid was also a topic for serious concern.
A mass email was sent out to students soon after issues surfaced explaining how a system glitch was the cause.
Tallant said, “[The system] is in the best shape it’s ever been in history.”
After reassuring students about financial aid, Tallant addressed a profane remark written inside a facility restroom earlier this month.
He shared his disappointment and disgust as to how one could target an ethnic group.
The president hopes that TAMUK will come together and stay united and supportive of diversity.
Provost Anderson stressed that college deans and higher authorities rely on course evaluations and comments from students to evaluate faculty and course offerings.
Administration would like to further develop a more reputable way of knowing what motives a student may have when filing grievances and how to respond in an orderly manner.
Lelyn Adams, freshman business major brought up the topic of outdated com- puters within the College of Business and Engineering. According to Adams, the lack of software maintenance has posed itself as a problem. He hopes that a resolution will be formed and those needs will be met. “We have a plan to refresh computers whether it be updated programs or new computers,” Riley said. David Barrera, SGA president, spoke on the advantages of having the semi-annual forum.
“Any time to sit down and talk with the president or upper administration
is a good time. I think it’s super important to be able to connect with these people… have everyone come together and at the end of the day, have students voice their opinions,” Barrera said.