The Lumberjack

Upset students storm WSCUC open forum

Humboldt State students air out their grievances to WSCUC during an open forum in the lobby of the Native American Forum on March 21. Photo by Surya Gopalan.

Cold and wet students gathered in the lobby of the Native American Forum at Humboldt State on March 21 for the WSCUC student open forum.

The WSCUC, or Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College & University Commission, is a team of multiple administrators from different colleges across the country. This agency is given the task of reviewing an institution’s accreditation every 10 years and compiling a report that shows the results of this review.

The open forum was for HSU students to share their input with WSCUC, and students were not happy. While this was not an opportunity to have questions answered, or problems addressed, it was a chance for students to tell WSCUC what concerns them about HSU.

The issues that were brought up to WSCUC concerned student homelessness, financial issues, racism in the surrounding areas and, most commonly, the lack of communication between the students and administration.

“Many of the students were informed of your arrival through this screensaver on all HSU computers,” HSU student Jessa Anderson said as she presented the Star Wars-themed flyer on the computer that informs viewers of WSCUC’s visit.

Other students said they were not aware of the open forum until the budget cuts walkout that occurred in the UC Quad and Siemens Hall on the same day.

Rita Cheng, the president of Northern Arizona University, is a member of WSCUC and mediated this open forum.

“We are just peer reviewers, and it allows us to get a better look when we look from this perspective,” Cheng said.

Students continued to speak of the pattern of poor communication between administration and students. Students also expressed how the stresses of not knowing what will be cut might affect their lives.

Toward the end of the forum, the conversation shifted to the ignored racism problem in the university and surrounding areas.

“I don’t feel safe and I don’t even know how to begin to feel safe here,” HSU student DaMon Thomas said.

While HSU’s administration was not at the open forum to hear these grievances directly, many students were able to have their voices heard by WSCUC.