We complained. They listened.
In response to the Oct. 19 “Flames of The Torch,” editorial criticizing the University’s recent technological efforts and its Information Technology procedures, Cindy Grossman, the special assistant to the vice president in the Division of Student Affairs, called for a focus group style meeting between several school administrators along with IT executives and members of the editorial board of The Torch.
There is a definite disconnect between the students and the administration of St. John’s, though, as seen through our meeting, they are working on closing that gap.
Joseph Tufano, the Chief Information Officer of Information Technology, presented a comprehensive pamphlet on “Student Laptop Usage and Support,” including various statistics on internet usage, laptop repairs, etc.
We discussed the lack of wireless service in the Residence Village bedrooms, the impractibilities of having a wireless Great Lawn, and the constant problems with the school-distributed laptops. We also introduced the common complaints of Information Technology service- from the reformatted hard drives to the poor attitudes of the repairmen.
We had reasonable complaints, and for the most part, they responded with answers.
We know we want the dorms wireless, but they know that it is extremely difficult and expensive to create a wireless network within the bedrooms.
We informed them of the student body resentment toward IT, for their hard drive recuts and poor attitudes. They are looking to avoid the need for hard drive reformatting through spyware and virus protection, and they promised to assess the poor service.
On these and other issues, the administrators shifted their knowledge into our needs.
We have an administration composed of college graduates, yet many times they forget what it’s like to be in college.
But likewise, we don’t know what it is like to be 40-plus years old, dealing with the pressures of an inquisitive student body of over 14,000, and the business aspects of the largest Catholic university in the United States.
When we ask for improvements, when we complain about the food in Montgoris, the Residence Life visitation policies, temperature control in the classrooms, or the service at Information Technology, we put pressure on the higher ups, no matter how subtle the complaint is. When we do not get immediate answers, or the answer that we want to hear, widespread student resentment grows exponentially. It is our obligation to address problems, for that is the way we maintain power over how our school is run.
But it is equally our duty to be responsible with our criticisms.
You know when your mom gets angry and you choose to tune her out after a while? When it’s the same old thing with the same old sayings and the same old misunderstandings, you eventually stop listening. When it’s about every little thing you do, from the clothes you wear to the people you hang out with, you may even stop caring.
If we keep on in our loathing whines, our administration will be like us with our parents: they’ll stop listening too.
And that’s exactly the sentiment that the administration chose to avoid this time. These problems were real to them, they admitted them to be dilemmas rather than merely baseless complaints.
Let’s hope that our criticisms become reflected through their actions.