Students and administrators will work together during the summer
months to establish a student advisory committee by this fall which
will provide students with greater input into decisions affecting
University President Mary Sue Coleman announced her intention to
create the committee in a letter to the student body three weeks
Student Voices in Action, a group formed recently to protest
student budget cuts, first raised the idea of establishing a
student committee March 28 in a meeting with Coleman, Vice
President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, University Provost
Paul Courant and Dean of Students Ed Willis.
SVA will also be involved in creating the student advisory
committee. “The group represents a very representative group
of student leaders on campus. … Just as a result there will
be plenty of SVA students involved,” said MSA Rep. Matt
Hollerbach, a member of SVA.
Although LSA seniors Jackie Bray, Kristen Harris, Clair
Morrissey and Monique Perry, who have been the active in SVA, will
be graduating in the next two weeks, Hollerbach said SVA will still
remain an active organization in the fall.
Harper is responsible for outlining the duties of the student
advisory committee and approving its actions. She is currently
working to get feedback from different student organizations
regarding the structure and role of the committee.
Harper said committee members will be briefed and have input on
all decisions regarding the Division of Student Affairs.
Harper has met with members of several student groups including
the Native American Student Association, LSA Student Government,
the Latino Law Association and Students of Color of Rackham.
She said the meetings have been productive because the different
groups have been expressing their opinions and concerns.
“We’re meeting with different groups to get ideas about
purpose and membership and the relationship of the student advisory
committee to their organization,” Harper said.
“I’m not going in with any preconceived notions
about how many folks should be on it, but there will be enough to
make it effective,” Harper added.
The Division of Student Affairs has not set a date for the
establishment of the student advisory committee. The first meeting
will be in September or October, Harper said.
Hollerbach said the delay in setting up the committee has caused
some concerns among students because the University Board of
Regents will vote on the budget and tuition in July. He said he
wants students to be able to look at the budget and express their
concerns before administrators finalize it.
Michigan Student Assembly President Jason Mironov said MSA is
working to assemble a team of students to evaluate the budget with
Courant in the summer. “We will have students in place in the
summer to review budget materials,” Mironov added.
The Division of Student Affairs is also taking time to form the
committee because it is currently focusing on gathering a wide
range of information about different student groups’
opinions. “We want to do this in a thoughtful way, not a
hasty way,” said Susan Wilson, director of the Office of
Student Activities and Leadership.
The student advisory committee will differ from the Michigan
Round Table, Hollerbach said. The Round Table, a group of students
that Harper relies on for input, doesn’t really have any
power, he added.
He said the new committee will give students a voice, although
he could not say how. “Students won’t necessarily have
power … just be able to have a say,” he said.
The Division of Student Affairs hopes to improve communication
between students and the administration through this committee,
Wilson said. “We want to get information and also communicate
information about what we’re doing before it becomes a
crisis,” she added.