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Student government extends office hours to hear feedback over town hall


Students filed into the Student Government Association office this week saying they did not feel they were included in Belmont president Dr. Robert Fisher’s Vision 2020 plan and were not satisfied with the answers he gave during Monday’s Town Hall meeting.

Belmont’s SGA opened its doors this week to hear concerns over student feedback, numbers and clarification on Fisher’s responses to questions asked during Monday’s Vision 2020 Town Hall Meeting.

In a statement posted to its official Facebook page Tuesday, SGA announced open office hours Wednesday through Friday in light of the “subsequent concerns voiced by students” related to the content of Vision 2020.

“Something overarching is that people were asked for input on Vision 2020, and that input wasn’t included to the capacity that people would like, and if it was, we haven’t seen any actual data on that,” SGA Finance Chair Chris Dickerson said. “What people think is that it’s a facade, the idea of student centeredness.”

During the Town Hall meeting, Fisher fielded questions from the audience which ranged from  the inclusion of a multicultural center at Belmont to transparency on how the university’s consolidated student fee is broken down.

Sophomore congresswoman Erica Rivero said the students who visited the SGA office were dissatisfied with Fisher’s responses.

“I think students would like to see Fisher apologize or correct what he was trying to say. What he said might not actually reflect what he meant,” Rivero said.

While Vision 2020’s strategic initiatives include an enrollment goal of 8,888 students, these were not the numbers many students had in mind. Dickerson said people want to see hard numbers on where Belmont will be in terms of diversity, the size of classes and the number of student organizations on campus by 2020.

Other issues students brought to SGA this week include a possible enrollment cap, the continued inclusion of the LGBT community on campus, possibly adding historically black Greek chapters and having the health clinic open on the weekends.

SGA is planning on addressing these issues at its meeting on Monday.

Congress is expecting a large turnout of students at the meeting, and Rivero said some of the resolutions that night may be tabled so the students can speak.

“We would rather take the time to hear what students have to say rather than focusing our meeting on the pieces of legislation at hand,” said Rivero.

Freshman representative Katie Wiseman stressed that SGA needs help constructing solutions to the issues facing campus. That way, she said, senior leadership is more likely to be open to what students have to say.

“Senior leadership would be more receptive if we approach them with solutions and not a list of complaints,” Wiseman said.

SGA’s meeting is Monday at 5 p.m. in the multimedia hall on the library’s second floor.

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