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Student Government Association president publishes open letter addressing transparency

Belmont University’s Student Government Association President Chris Dickerson published an open letter,“I’m Tired of Being Tired,” Wednesday night addressing several key issues popular among Belmont students.

“Do you get tired of saying that we need to put a cap on the growth of the student body yet we keep getting larger?” the letter read. “I do.”

“Do you get tired of looking at MyBelmont and knowing that only pictures showing exaggerated images of racial diversity made it online?” the letter continued. “Do you get tired of walking into buildings and seeing bare walls and uncomfortable furniture? I do.”

The letter also addressed issues like parking, Greek life overpopulation, the lack of practice rooms, long-term lawn closures and the 16-hour credit limit.

“While this isn’t foreshadowing any specific legislation, I am pleased to report that SGA has been going through an internal review to ensure that we’re representing the student body to the best of our ability,” Dickerson told the Vision in a statement. “The result of this will hopefully be an amendment to the SGA constitution, which will make seats elected by the colleges, making members more accountable and create a Graduate Council that gives the 20 percent of students on campus that are graduate students a greater voice.”

Dickerson also emphasized his goal to communicate with the student body clearly and frequently and cited parts of the SGA Strategic Plan, which states, “SGA will strengthen existing lines of communication and open new channels to make the organization, and its actions, more accessible,” as well as, “SGA will be intentional about targeting student concerns and asking for information from members of the Belmont community.”

Dickerson and the rest of SGA have taken steps to ensure the strategic plan is followed and communication with students remains open.

“These included action items such as utilizing our website more and publishing a comprehensive calendar with all of our meetings and office hours,” Dickerson said. “I’ve written other notes to the student body on my ‘Messages from the President’ section of the website and SGA congress members write for the blog at least every two weeks.”

“We’re trying to fulfill our promise to communicate to the student body as often as possible.”

Wednesday night’s letter followed a similarly-themed letter,“How Big is Too Big?,” Dickerson published a week earlier.

That letter addressed Belmont’s new window policy, which “prohibits the display of any items in the windows of residential complexes” and was met with disdain by a large portion of the student body.

“I, like many of you, tried to get an explanation and couldn’t get a clear answer,” the letter read. “The sentiment I’ve heard and agree with is that we are moving towards a more sterile environment.”

Sophomore Noah Klibonoff, who responded to the window policy by creating the parody “Prison 2020” logo, said he felt Dickerson made good points in his letter.

“Don’t get me wrong I love Belmont, it has a lot going for it,” Klibonoff said. “But communication with its students is extremely lacking.”

Klibonoff felt administration has been ignoring students recently.

“What I think Belmont is failing to realize is that its students have a very large voice,” Klibonoff said. “As a student body, we should not be ignored. We make the university what it is.”

Dickerson’s goals are to remain transparent.

“I took an oath saying that I would represent and work towards the enrichment of student life,” Dickerson said. “My transparency with the student body is one of the many ways that I hope to do just that.”

Photo courtesy of SGA.

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