Q&A: Student Trustee talks politics

Kelly Wynne, News Editor

Student Trustee Gloria Roark has had a busy summer, from board meetings to recruiting students for academic committees. The Courier sat down with her to talk about what happened this summer and what direction she hopes this school year takes.

Courier: What is your vision for this upcoming year and your role as Student Trustee?

Gloria Roark: I definitely think I want to get more students involved with the board in general. When I came in I didn’t know anything about the board, so that’s going to be my goal; to educate people about it, what it is and what we do. Then, of course, getting more student input about what students would like to see happen rather than just going up there and saying my opinion. I also want to continue student presentations. I want to know what students want the community to know about and what they want people to know about COD. If they’re doing something successful on campus, I want them to talk about it.

C: What is the best way for students to contact you?

GR: I have office hours on the window [of the SLC office]. Usually I’m here pretty early. I have class around 11 but I get here at nine. I’m pretty much here all day. They can email or call me, whatever they’d like. I will always answer emails.

C: The vote passed to transition Waterleaf to an educational facility. How do you feel about that decision?

GR: That was one of the decisions I was working to get student opinion on. I talk to everyone who comes into SLC and I would ask them what they wanted to see done. I had the chance to talk to the faculty members at the culinary building. I asked Tim Meyers [Culinary Coordinator and Professor] what his students want because he’s pretty close with his students. He said they want to use Waterleaf as much as they can. I think this vote is good for the students. I think having Waterleaf for academic purposes is going to be amazing, a great opportunity. I don’t know how many colleges have a restaurant on campus like that that their students get to use but I’m happy that students will get to use it now.

C: The decision to start the termination process for President Robert Breuder…

GR: I had to consider both sides. Obviously he did a lot of good things for the college, I mean walking around campus, it’s a beautiful campus, we have amazing programs, state of the art facilities, and things like that, which he helped to make better. I felt in this circumstance the bad outweighed the good that he did here. That was a hard decision. He was a nice man too, it was hard to make that decision in particular.

C: Do you come across students who have felt the same way?

GR: Students didn’t really know. They hear about it on the news but the news is so biased. You can’t make a good opinion about someone you’ve never met. People in SLC know a little bit more so I can talk to them about it, but you know, a student walks in here and they don’t know anything about it and they’re just telling me what the news said, it’s hard to make a judgment.

C: How did you feel about the fact that the vote didn’t pass unanimously?

GR: Some of them had their opinions. I thought there was enough evidence to pass that vote unanimously, but some people didn’t feel that way. And that’s okay. It’s just everyone’s opinion. It passed, so.

C: The enrollment video…

GR: Yeah! I’m really excited about the enrollment video. I was a part of making it. Basically, that’s going to make students who commute here from far away places, or they have children or job obligations, it’ll just make the enrollment process easier. It explains things better so there’s no room for questions. They don’t have to come into campus to turn in one paper, and then come back. It’s just gonna clear those things up. Enrollment was hard. I’m really excited about that.

C: Will that be up on the COD website?

GR: I think so!

C: How do you feel about taking away premium parking?

GR: The way I understand it is that we didn’t need the money that was coming from the premium parking passes. They were pretty expensive, which is why I never got one. That part made sense. When you came to campus there were a lot of empty premium parking spots. In terms of that I think it was a good idea. The only complaint that I had is, this man has an injury and he couldn’t get a handicap pass, so he bought a premium parking pass, so that is gonna be stressful on him. But that was the only reasonable complaint other than people saying like “Oh now where am I gonna park?” Somewhere else. You can just walk.

C: What, in general, do you hope to see from the board this semester?

GR: Unity. I don’t want bickering. I hate bickering because we waste time. We sit there and argue about the same thing, and people repeat themselves, and I’m like, you’ve said that already. It’s in my notes. I understand your point. Everyone heard you the first time, now you’re just saying it to make a point and I’m tired of hearing it. It really is annoying to hear constant arguing. If those things settle down I would be much happier. I don’t know when they will settle down, hopefully sometime soon because really all it does is makes meeting extensively long, stressful, and I don’t want to be there until 1 a.m.

C: You want everyone to work together a little better.

GR: Yeah. When I took the position they said you can say whatever you want, but when something passes you should back it. You should support the decisions for the good of the school. Ultimately faculty and committees recommend these things to us and they want us to say yes most of the time. You can say no- that’s your opinion. But you shouldn’t bring it up 100 times. It passed. Just support what the college is doing.

C: At the last board meeting you brought up that there may not be student representation on the transition team to find a new president. Why is it important for you to have the students helping to give their input?

GR: To me, what the transition team is trying to do is resolve the issues that were going on around the college. Students do have opinions about what is happening but there’s no easy way to express these things. Personally, I think there should be student representation on anything that’s going on around the college. They’re here for the students; they’re here to fix the college for the students, so there should be students on the transition team. I hope other people are in support of that and I hope the transition team understands that as well.

GR: Oh! This is kind of off topic but we are looking for members for the committees on campus. We’re looking for two students per committee. Students just need to fill out an application, which you can get in the SLC office or you can go on Chaplife under the SLC page.

C: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

GR: In regards to the HLC board meeting. There was one question that the board’s response was off. I’m sitting there and the guy [from HLC] said “so, when you make a decision is the first thing you think about the students?” and someone said yes. I feel differently. From my position, I feel that they think about politics or finances first. I was thrown off a bit by that. Another one of the questions was “before the new board was it always a unanimous vote?” and someone said yes. I knew that was completely off too. A few of us made eye contact, and just knew that was wrong. I actually got to sit down with the HLC in a larger group of students. They took my notes about the part that I didn’t feel the board doesn’t think about students first. Maybe they get caught up in finance and politics and they don’t want what happened to happen again, which is understandable. I just wish they had represented themselves in a different way. That’s all I wanted to say about that meeting.