On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 14, the President’s Student Advisory Council (PSAC) met for the final time this semester with President Alan Cramb. Unfortunately, Provost Peter Kilpatrick was not present due to other obligations.
The meeting began with a discussion about the Co-Terminal degree program. During the last meeting, PSAC discussed students' concerns regarding the lack of clarity in the program. Cramb explained that at the most recent faculty meeting, it was announced that a “whole new process” for Co-Terminal and Dual Degree programs should be coming soon. The “whole process should be simplified,” Cramb explained. The group has been working on it for the past two years, he said, so the new process should be coming in the very near future.
Additionally, PSAC member Claire Joswiak asked for updates concerning Prism (Illinois Tech's LGBTQIA+ support group) and its gender neutral bathroom initiative, which had been discussed at length at the prior PSAC meeting with the president and provost. Vice President for Administration Bruce Watts explained that the newly opened Kaplan Institute contains two new gender neutral restrooms, and there are currently plans to open up new ones in MTCC and in Perlstein Hall. Currently the plan is to convert the “hidden,” multi-stall women’s restroom near the MTCC ballroom into a multi-stall gender-neutral restroom. According to Watts, students should expect updated signage there at the start of the spring 2019 semester.
Watts also mentioned that the university is currently in “final negotiations” regarding the renovation of Bailey Hall, and construction should begin in the summer of 2019 and be online in the fall of 2020. Dean of Students Katherine Stetz recognized that a big concern of many students is the implementation of more gender-inclusive housing, of which she is in complete support. In January, she plans to move forward with conversations concerning more gender-inclusive housing options. “We will absolutely move forward with something,” she said. “[The issue is] still on our radar.”
The group then brought forward student concerns regarding VanderCook students’ issues on campus. Very specific issues were discussed, such as VanderCook students' inability to enter Illinois Tech buildings after their closing (hindering their ability to participate in student organizations), their inability to access HawkLink (which, for example, is frustrating for those who would like to become president or treasurer of a student organization), frustration at the lack of parking (particularly when there is an Illinois Tech event such as the Career Fair) and their inability to enter the Galvin Library after 6 p.m. Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer Ophir Trigalo explained that in a full collaboration with VanderCook administration and the Office of Technology Services (OTS), VanderCook students now have full access to the following: Illinois Tech buildings, HawkLink, printer services, “Point and Click,” the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) portal, MyParking, MyHawkCard, university tickets, full access to the Galvin Library, and university WiFi. President Cramb expressed his sympathy for students who have difficulty parking, but explained that “there is no VanderCook lot”; VanderCook students can park anywhere that Illinois Tech students can, such as outside Hermann Hall, to the north, or on the other side of State Street. “It’s not as if they have no ability to park,” he said.
The final issue discussed by the group was student dissatisfaction with the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC). One PSAC member explained that a student, who was on the university-provided insurance, had gone to the emergency room and called the SHWC regarding which places they could go and be covered by insurance. The SHWC told the student that they did not know, forcing the student to go home, look it up, and then go to the place in which they could receive care. Dean Stetz recognized that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. “That should not have happened,” she said, saying that it was a case of the “wrong person on the phone.” She offered to meet with this student at a later time in order to talk through their experience and make sure it does not happen again.
If you have any concerns of your own that you would like to bring forward to this organization, please fill out their Google form, found at http://bit.ly/2zovKaC.