Gatepost Editorial: Wait – who was on campus?

This week, Katherine S. Conway-Turner was the first of FSU’s three presidential finalists to visit our campus, and answered questions from faculty, staff and a few students – the key word being “few.”

A reporter for The Gatepost covered her visit, and was one of only five students who attended the student forum.

We at The Gatepost have advocated for student participation in the past – it is important for our peers to be aware of what is going on at FSU, and to have an active voice on campus.

However, we think the small number of student attendees present wasn’t because of our peers’ lack of interest in learning about this presidential finalist, but because the schedule of her appearances wasn’t publicized well enough.

Two weeks ago, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Development Susanne Conley forwarded an email to students about the finalists, and provided a link to the school’s website where students could search for the schedules of the candidates’ visits, navigating through a series of links in order to gather the information.

It was not until this past Monday, the day of Conway-Turner’s visit, that students received a brief last-minute email from Dean of Students Melinda Stoops – only a few short hours before the presidential candidate was scheduled to arrive.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense for students to be reminded of the visit at least one other time in the last two weeks?  Sending a notification to them the day of our potential future president’s visit is a poor way to advertise such a crucial opportunity. Having a chance to interact one-on-one with a candidate could significantly impact students’ views on whether they want that person making key decisions that may affect them considerably for the rest of their FSU careers.

Not only is it important for students to be aware of an event providing the opportunity to meet someone who could be their new president, but it also proves to the candidate that we are an actively informed student body – one she would be proud to work with, represent and serve.

We at The Gatepost think that overall, there needs to be a much greater effort by the administration to advertise significant events on our campus.

For example, if you were not informed, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was on campus this Wednesday. Yet again, students were not given notice until that morning.

We at The Gatepost were fortunate enough to learn about her visit the day before from Director of Communications Dan Magazu. The heads-up allowed us to assign a reporter to cover the event just in the nick of time.

Magazu said in an email, “Word didn’t get to me until early last week [about Warren’s visit]. … Specific details were still being worked out until a couple days before the event.”

Regardless of “specific details,” why couldn’t students be informed that Warren was going to be on campus in the coming week? Does the administration believe that this was not an important enough event to actively involve and inform students?

Instead of sending last-minute emails, it would be extremely helpful if there were more advertisements of all kinds.

We think the school should put out a weekly event update – more than just the monthly “Toilet Times” or “Campus Happenings” – and allow students access to the “Campus Currents” email updates, which, if you’re a student reading this, you have probably never heard of, as it is available only to faculty and staff. In addition, we think it would be useful if there were more posters and flyers around campus – maybe even make better use of the big flashing sign outside of the McCarthy Center, which cost a whopping $67,000.

Not only would having a better advertising system in place keep students better informed, but it would also assure the prospective presidents, and more importantly, the students, that the administration is organized and dedicated to student involvement.

We hope more students attend the events for the last two presidential finalists next week. See page 18 for the dates and times of their visits. We are happy to provide this information to students, since doing so is clearly not our administration’s strong suit.

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