Several students went to the provost’s office Friday to protest the lack of upper level courses in the College of Arts and Sciences available for the summer term and the unreleased summer budget. After four previous unsuccessful visits to the provost’s office, students decided they were going to gather until they were heard.
“We went to the provost’s office four times and we were refused each time,” said Charles Shorette II, 22, a senior English education student from Santa Barbara, Calif. After being refused on Friday, students were told they needed to speak with the dean of Arts and Sciences.
“We went to the dean’s office and the secretary told us that all the deans are out of town, so we decided to go to the president’s office,” said Rondrea Mathis, 24, a junior English education student from Miami. “But of course the president was out of town for a conference, so we spoke to Dr. Wanton and she called the provost for us.”
Eva Wanton, special assistant to the president, said, “The budget is administered by Dr. Grace Ali and the academic portion is administered by Dr. Debra Austin. Students were under the impression that the budget for summer school courses offered didn’t reflect their needs, because they only saw 100 and 200 level courses.”
After talking with Austin, Wanton said the provost said the entire budget had been released to the College of Arts and Sciences on Friday.
Despite the release of the budget, the summer’s course offerings will still be decided upon by the deans and chairpersons of each department. Some of the students that protested said they still felt unsettled by administration.
“It seems like we have the support of the faculty and staff; they are very concerned and understand the urgency,” Mathis said. “But the school is sorely lacking a sense of accountability.” Shorette agreed.
“We expressed our concern about how we kept being passed back and forth between the provost and the dean,” Shorette said. “Even though some of the faculty did have the student’s best interest at heart, it doesn’t seem like the administration is living up to our motto of excellence with caring.”
Shorette said many of the students still do not have answers.
“We still don’t really know what’s going on because they’re saying it’s up to the dean to make decisions of what’s to be offered,” Shorette said.
Although Shorette said students are expecting more classes will be available early this week, not knowing the current state drives their frustration.
With the availability of summer classes subject to change, Vernese Wade, interim associate registrar, suggested students check the Web site often.
“Whenever classes are available, they will be updated in the system,” Wade said.
Grace Ali, interim vice president of fiscal affairs, Debra Austin and Herbert Bailey, director of the University budget office, were unavailable for comment.