The Daily Illini

Editorial: Responses to student needs must be more immediate

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Attending a large university can cause some students to miss out on the niche educational benefits that a small school may provide, such as closer relationships with professors or a feeling of attention paid to them. While there are amazing aspects to attending larger universities, there is a tendency to feel as if our voices are not heard.

However, when students in the Gender and Women’s Studies department expressed the desire for a safe space following feelings of hate at the University spurred by the Illini White Student Union Facebook page, this was not the case.

Rather than getting embattled in red-tape or logistical issues, GWS quickly presented the safe space students asked for. Rather than having to wait an extended period of time, as usual, for the University’s solution — if a tangible one were to be offered at all — students were able to immediately get the attention they needed.EJ

This is a great step for a multitude of reasons, but one reason in particular is that it shows the University directly responding to a campus need.

The Gender and Women’s Studies Department saw a way they could make the safe space available and they made it simple by just doing it. They put the needs of students above everything else.EJ

We need fast, direct responses to student needs more on our campus. When students make requests from our administrators and our university, most of the time, we aren’t expressing extravagant desires. We simply want to see effort put into a speedy but effective solution, such as this solidarity space.

There shouldn’t be excuses; this should be easily replicable within other university arenas, especially when the budget doesn’t have to be affected to do many of the things we’re asking for.

For example, a forum could have easily been held after the announcement that students may have to refund their spring MAP grants. The forum could have served to inform those affected students of their options following the announcement. Rather than presenting an issue and leaving students to their own devices, it would have been much more impactful and helpful to prove that the concern and need of students was heard more than a simple Massmail statement.EJ

It is crucially important for current students to feel cared about, but it’s also important for potential future students to see that the University will care about them if they come here as well.

For more technical, research based programs or programs larger in size at the University, these issues may be exacerbated compared to progressive, discussion based programs such as GWS, a pillar of which is understanding and acceptance.

Still, there are students who need support and need to be heard in every field of study at the University. Leadership in each program needs to take student need into account more often and learn how to quickly respond to it with effective solutions.

Frequently, when it comes to students, thinking outside of the box is not what is most important, rather, it’s thinking quickly and causally after we voice concerns, and the University must prove they can do that for us.

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