A flyer detailing a number of grievances about the University of Illinois Springfield’s administration, with plans to produce a publication voicing these concerns, was distributed around campus last week.
The flyer, with the heading “UIS Cannot Silence Us,” lists ten grievances with administrators, and states that its purpose is to establish an anonymous publication where other students can express their own concerns as well.
The group, identified as “The United Student” on the flyer, plans to publish its first publication this Friday, where the group will “more clearly outline (its) mission and expand on some of (its) grievances.”
In an email to The Journal, organizers of The United Student said they want the publication to be a platform where students, faculty, and staff can voice concerns without fear of “embarrassment, intimidation, or punishment.”
“We hope to become a mechanism through which students and faculty/staff may personally hold the administration accountable for its actions,” they said. “We hope to provide efficacy to the individual who is displeased by the issues on campus.”
The grievances listed in the flyers include administration “lying to and attempting to create a favorable impression for students and media while ignoring underlying problems,” “the mishandling of sexual assault cases,” “the negligent treatment of faculty and staff” and “ a lack of transparency” in the administration’s actions, policies and decision-making process.
The often-talked about issue of feral campus cats was pointed out in the flyer, with organizers of the publication saying the felines are treated inhumanely.
The suppression of Greek Life, and the Student Government’s “lack of autonomy” were also listed as grievances.
University Chancellor Susan Koch said she has not heard about any of the grievances directly from anybody who has one, though she did have a meeting with the Student Government Association’s leadership about the flyer.
Though this is the organization’s first publication, members of The United Student have been active on campus in a variety of ways, organizers said in an email interview.
“We have noticed that some (students and faculty/staff) are frustrated with the administration and their efforts to effect change,” they wrote.
Koch said she does not plan to respond directly to the flyer as she sees it more as a message to students, and there are forums already in place where people can voice their concerns.
A forum set for Wednesday in the Student Union Ballroom will hopefully address some of these issues, Koch said, though the forum was planned before the flyer was distributed and is not in response to it. Several administrators who have grievances listed in their area are set to attend.
“Obviously there are some people who have some concerns; they have every right to bring them forward,” Koch said. “In fact, I want them to bring hem forward because that helps me understand.”
She added that the administration is striving for the university to be an open environment where problems are addressed as quickly as possible.
“One of our goals is to operate in a manner that’s transparent as possible,” Koch said. “Clearly in someone’s eyes, we’ve come up short.”
Part of this includes meeting regularly with campus groups and trying to be “out and about” as much as possible, Koch said, though she acknowledged that some people might not think that is enough.
Members of The United Student said some students are not aware of conventional channels that allow them to make changes at the level of large-scale decision making.
“Students as well as faculty and other UIS employees have voiced support, provided insight, and are aiding in the circulation of The United Student,” they wrote. “By being the mechanism through which students and faculty/staff voice concerns, we hope to provide efficacy to every individual who wishes to see changes made to this campus.”