Low response to committee irks officials

Elaine Helm

After creating a new committee to gauge student opinion on future building projects, University President Henry Bienen said he is disappointed that only one graduate student has applied to join the committee so far.

But Rachel Lopez, Associated Student Government president, said interest in the committee is higher than Bienen indicated. Lopez said she has nominated two undergraduate students to the committee through William Banis, vice president for student affairs, and plans to nominate at least three more.

Uproar over the announcement in early February of plans to fill one-fifth of the Lagoon prompted Bienen to form the new committee, which will include three undergraduates, three graduate students, five faculty members and several administrators.

Up until a week ago, there was confusion among student leaders about how students could join the committee. On May 21, Lopez said she received an e-mail from Banis that served as a “gentle reminder” that she needed to nominate students. Before then, she didn’t know she was supposed to do so, she said.

Lopez’s nominees for the new development committee include three students involved in ASG – Matthew McCormick, Kawika Pierson and James Baldwin- and two who are unaffiliated, Evan North and Derek Supple.

All five are sophomores because the committee requires a two-year commitment.

Citing the interest of those students and the 10 who applied for two open positions on the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee this week, Lopez said students want the chance to serve on committees that actually effect change at NU.

“When a committee has a substantial say in something, students are going to want to be on it,” said Lopez, a Weinberg junior.

Lopez said she had difficulty finding students who could commit to two years on the development advisory committee because many students plan to study abroad or participate in internships that would take them away from campus for a quarter or more.

Lopez said she hopes the new committee meets regularly and that administrators listen to student viewpoints.

“The problem with (existing) committees is that they’re ineffective because they don’t meet often enough and the faculty and staff members don’t really take into account what students say,” she said.

Eight student, faculty and staff committees still have openings. Students can apply for positions on these by Friday.

_Ѣ The admissions and financial aid committee, which meets two or three times annually, provides recommendations to the administration on issues regarding the admission and financial aid offices.

_Ѣ The athletics and recreation committee, which meets six to eight times annually, advises administrators on varsity and recreational athletics, including the operation and scheduling of facilities.

_Ѣ The health services advisory committee, which meets three or four times annually, makes recommendations about the policies and practices of the Student Health Service and Counseling and Psychological Services.

_Ѣ The library committee, which meets three times annually, makes recommendations about library policy and reviews the library’s budget.

_Ѣ The naval science and related program committee, which meets two or three times annually, reviews the Department of Naval Science and oversees NU’s Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps.

_Ѣ The parking and traffic committee, which meets four to six times annually, advises administrators about long-term solutions and short-term problems with parking at NU.

_Ѣ The residential dining services committee, which meets six to eight times annually, works to improve food service in dining halls with officials from SodexhoUSA.

_Ѣ The undergraduate housing policy advisory committee, which meets five or six times during Winter Quarter, reviews proposed changes to undergraduate housing policy.

Applications are available outside the ASG office at Norris University Center.