At Friday’s monthly Board of Regents meeting, Scott Roethle, along with three other student representatives, presented what University President Mark Yudof called “one of the most comprehensive student reports I’ve seen.”
The 11-page report both extolled the board for its progress this year and called for large-scale improvements in 10 areas of student life.
Topping the list of student concerns, as outlined by the representatives, was the issue of adequate and affordable parking. Despite the planned construction of a new parking garage on East River Road, there are not enough spots for every student who wants one, the report said. Additionally, the student representatives lamented excessively high parking rates and enforcement policies. Most meters are checked until 10 p.m. instead of late afternoon or early evening.
Yudof said that costs for parking facilities are high if the facilities are above ground and even higher if the facilities are below ground.
The students also raised the perennial issues of affordable tuition, increased financial aid and scholarships, recommending a freeze in tuition increase for the 1999-2000 academic year.
Diversity was a continuing objective. The students suggested a mix of greater community input and more funding that would go toward faculty member training, child care, resources for the ethnic studies departments, the hiring of more minority staff members, cultural centers and events.
Examining the graduate and professional student issues, the students were most concerned with graduate assistant compensation.
The students want to see “increased awareness and participation between” the Twin Cities campus and the coordinate campuses in Morris, Crookston and Duluth.
Increasing quality and quantity of student involvement was another objective. The report suggested that the University try to encourage and recognize students through letters, certificates and receptions, and to give more stipends to those active on campus. It even suggested the University require involvement of some kind.
The report suggested a “Wellness Day,” which would improve student health and well-being by offering “everything from fitness and athletic events to knowledge bowl competitions to educational seminars and activities.”
Making a “positive transition to semesters” and “improving the online registration system” were included as well.
Finishing off the list was a plea to increase the amount of housing and the quality of food services. As housing becomes more expensive, it is becoming more scarce, reported the students.
The scheduled new 500-bed residence hall on the South Mall will raise housing costs even more.
“We will spread the new cost over all the users of the residence halls,” Yudof said.