Students voice concerns at accreditation meeting

Victoria Garcia

Tuesday, an open session for students regarding Washburn University’s re-accreditation brought forward requests ranging from more diversity to healthier food options.

Organized as an encouragement for students to participate in the re-accreditation process, the hour-long meeting attracted only a small handful of those willing to speak about the strengths and weakness of Washburn University.

The main focus of attendees’ complaints centered on the lack of healthy food selections in the Memorial Union. Several vegetarians expressed the need for more options.

Washburn student Paige Stonerock finds frustration in her struggle to find affordable, healthy food on campus.

“We need more fresh produce, especially in the salad bar,” said Stonerock.

Stonerock also brought forth the topic of a 24-hour computer lab, fully equipped with all the software and applications that many students need but the computers on campus lack.

“Washburn needs to create a more flexible and supportive environment for their students,” said Stonerock.

Every 10 years the university goes through the re-accreditation process. While it would take a dramatic experience for a university to lose its accreditation status, creditors were still interested in the perspectives and opinions of the Washburn students in regards to their campus.

Amy Billinger, vice president of the Washburn Student Government Association, found the meeting effective in the sense that she and WSGA president Whitney Philippi got the chance to hear the concerns of students. However, she thought the intent of the students’ roles in the meeting should have been better explained, as some students were unsure how their perspectives fit into the overall re-accreditation process.

“We hope to look into some of the complaints and requests brought forward by the students and see if we can take the steps to make any of those changes,” said Billinger.

Washburn student Resa Boydston took advantage of the open forum meeting to voice concerns and frustrations in regard to the effectiveness of the university’s sexual harassment policy.

“It felt really good to voice my opinion regarding issues I felt were important to me. I actually felt someone actually listened,” said Boydston. “This was the first time I had ever participated in this forum and am glad they took the time to talk to the students.”

Overall, Boydston, along with Stonerock, believed the experience was a positive one in that it generated conversation about change.

“I am proud of my school,” said Boydston. “I love my WU and want to make it better for all those who come after me.”