By Christine Burke
Students at Niagara University have become increasingly dissatisfied with response to their concerns in the last few years. With recent issues gaining prominence on campus, the question must be asked: is there a divide between students and the administration?
The people interviewed for this article listed a variety of concerns they know students on campus are worried about, including the recent election and how the school will stay true to its mission under a Trump presidency, preferential treatment, Title IX proceedings, what tuition money is spent on, the residence halls, diversity and discrimination on campus, and food choices.
Courtney Jones, junior, said “I think administration has responded to the concerns that we have made real issues on campus, but I think that we shouldn’t have to make it as big of an issue as we do in order to get their attention.”
Zach Dorobiala, junior, agreed, saying “I feel like our voice isn’t really heard, and if it is, they don’t care.” Another student suggested that the administration does an okay job, but doesn’t exactly respond to concerns in a timely fashion.
The general consensus seemed to be that the administration is ultimately unsuccessful in addressing concerns in the way the student body seems to want them to. “They try to keep in touch, but at the end of the day there is a divide between us and them,” said sophomore Davis Bates.
“I do think there is a gap between students and administration in a few areas,” agreed junior Danielle Rosini. “Like why the NU Alliance isn’t recognized by NUSGA as an official club and why it took such drastic action for the BSU to be heard and a disappointing Dean of Students to be put under review.”
Again, consensus seems to be that there is definitely a division between students and administration. “It’s smaller than in a place like UB because of closer relationships,” said senior Brendan Doyle, “but yes, there definitely is one.” Is there a way to bridge this gap?
“I think it can be bridged but I don’t think it will be relatively soon without radical change,” said Dorobiala. Rosini suggested having student representatives meet with administration about student concerns, while sophomore Jacobe Wendell proposed that a divide might not be such a bad thing, citing objectivity and different long-term goals and priorities as why administration might need to stay separated from the student body.
“Administration doesn’t seem to know what our concerns are,” argued Jones. “If the administration takes the time to truly listen to our concerns and work with the student body we can make real change on campus.”
Students seem to agree that being listened to will start to close the gap, but because there is no immediate way to know if we can really fix the problems in communication, the divide between administration and the student body doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
“I think there is a divide and that there will always be one,” said senior Danae Knowles. “It just matters how each side addresses it.”