Administration puts handcuffs on student associations

Dear Editor:
As the Fall 2018 Semester comes to a close, it gives all of us an opportunity to reflect on what we each have done as students, along with what we have done for ourselves in general. Over this semester, I like to look back at the Student Government Association’s progress at the Downtown Campus, and see exactly what we have done. This semester, we have faced so many obstacles that have made our priorities shift, and have noticed a lot of issues with our organization and our representation on campus, and district wide.
I have only been a student at the Downtown Campus for short time. In my time here, I have experienced many opportunities for students at MATC to better themselves, and our community. So much so that I have been elected as a student representative in the Student Government Association at the Downtown Campus. In my position you would assume that I would be able to advocate on behalf of peers, see the resolutions and projects being proposed with student tuition money, and always have an invitation to the administrative meetings for our college, but you are completely wrong. Here are a few facts for the student body, before we continue:
• Student Government cannot make any financial decisions without the discretion of their assigned advisor from Student Life
• Student Government from the Downtown Campus does not have access to the Student Life Budget, but all other campuses can utilize theirs at their discretion
• Student Government cannot complete any activities unless they have received their budget from Student Life (which is typically delayed)
• Student Government does not have a say, or have an invitation, to any administrative meetings
• Student Government does not have any say in any administrative decisions in regards to student tuition meetings, student events, revision of codes of conduct, etc.
• Student Government can only purchase items from MATC (i.e. catering items, gift cards for events, etc.), even though all of the money granted is student tuition money
My primary intent is to simply bring this issue to the MATC community, not to deteriorate the MATC Office of Student Life or any of their affiliates. Unfortunately, at times, we must question the intent of our college, and we must answer the age old question: Why? If the overall mission and vision of MATC is to benefit students to the best of their abilities, then why is it that the “face of all students” is muffled out to the point where they have become an events planning committee? Why can’t all students have access to the expense reports and spending reports from administration, yet all of our organizations must go through a branch of theirs? On multiple occasions, I have heard members of administration state that they “work for the students,” yet we get no say on any of their decisions. I understand that MATC has an intent to follow their standards that have been applied over their time in Milwaukee, but that does not mean that the voices of all students should be muffled.
As for the 2018 Fall Semester, the Office of Student Life is under new management. From coordinators to the director, all faculty of student life is brand new. With a change this large, you would expect that clarification of all past issues be addressed, and all concerns be resolved, yet many students still approach me to this day with burning issues. One prime example would be with a peer of ours named Tequila Burris. Tequila came to the Student Government Office during one of our meetings and addressed the General Assembly. Her issue was regarding the Office of Student Life and Public Safety disregarding her while she was handing out flyers for early voting. While doing so, Director Burrows, from Student Life, questioned her intent by asking if she was a member of a student organization, or if she was sanctioned to encourage students to vote, even though her volunteering was non-partisan. After the encounter with Director Burrows, Tequila was continuously harassed by the MATC Public Safety, and even had her flyers removed without a proper purpose. As expected, Tequila took the issue to Director Burrows, who has 5+ years of experience in Student Life at other colleges, but was disregarded when addressing the issues at hand. This is a prime example as to how the MATC Administration has disregarded student’s concerns by simply lacking a proper approach, or muffling out a student’s concerns. I am no radical, I simply believe that the proper intent of a public college’s administration should be to advocate, represent, and include all students and faculty, at MATC, and from my perspective as a student representative, our administration is lacking that intent.
I strongly believe that if the students were able to appoint proper representation to administration, and/or administration be willing to comply with those students, MATC would be the best first step into all people’s future success. I do not intend to start any negative relationships between administration and the students of MATC, but to simply point out the everyday issues that I see in front of me. As you should know, the Student Government Association is the primary advocate for each and everyone of you, and we hope that you will utilize us with the best intent. I wish every student the absolute best on their exams later this month, and I wish you all a fantastic Spring Semester.