Student Needs at WOU Being Explicitly Ignored

Student Needs at WOU Being Explicitly Ignored

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Makanaohaililani Johnson-Waikiki started this petition to WOU Administration and Board of Trustees

My name is Makana Waikiki (she/they) and I am a student leader at Western Oregon University. I am an advocate for BIPOC rights and student voices on campus, and over the course of this last academic year, the students at WOU have been pushed to the bottom of the list on the priorities of the Board of Trustees and our Administration, consistently. The most recent example of this happened just this week.

For the past few months, I have been working with a group of inspiring and incredible student leaders to create a comprehensive proposal for the Board of Trustees solely based on student needs. In that proposal, our first request is for a one-time allocation of the $1,000,000 that was offered to the IFC and they did not use it. That offer was from the revenue collected from an “online tech fee” that was instituted this year. This proposal requests that $1,000,000 be used towards a Freedom Center, the student-athlete need, a director of equity and inclusion, and the IFC funded programs.

The second request is based on WOU’s need for re-evaluation campus-wide. It speaks on hiring policies and committees, the re-opening plan that lacked student input, and a request for a series of open forums in the fall for student input on a variety of issues. This request was submitted to every board member, secretary Hagemann, President Fuller, and Chair Komp on Tuesday, April 13th. It was a few hours later that same day that we received a rejection of that request by Chair Komp stating that the agenda for the meeting was “full”. The next day we received a response from President Fuller stating that if we wanted to speak we should request to take over another stakeholder’s time. This also came with the condition that the board would only listen to my proposal and would not take any action at all. In that response from President Fuller he also informed me that a special task force had been formed to create rules “for budget proposals that address campus climate, diversity, and inclusion” because of my requests.

Due to our leadership’s refusal to allow students at the table, we have called upon our supporters far and wide, to assist us in showing the Board how thought through, comprehensive, and prepared this presentation and proposal is. This includes but is not limited to our Faculty Senate, our Faculty and Staff Unions, the student body, and parents. We have also called on Representative Evans (WOU Alumni), Representative McClain, Representative Teresa Alonso Leon, Senator Patterson, Senator Wagner, and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s Kyle Thomas for their support in the Board of Trustees giving time to students and their needs and to be prepared to act on our requests.

Students deserve the time and space to communicate their needs to those who control our university. We will no longer be ignored and belittled.

We need change, NOW!

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