The new and former TSG officers cite looming budget cuts as an area of focus.
As Temple Student Government wraps up the academic year and plans for the future, Student Body President Colin Saltry said he looks forward to working with students through the proposed budget cuts and creating a more efficient form of government with the new General Assembly.
Saltry, who was previously senate president, said TSG has had some large accomplishments within the past year, including directly affecting students with the implementation of wireless printing, as well as the advocacy work in Harrisburg, Pa., to fight for higher education spending.
However, TSG also has had its share of shortcomings, Saltry said.
He added that there was weak communication between TSG members, and there was difficulty clearly executing the organization’s messages to the student body. He said discipline was also lacking, as the decision-making process often occurred through text message.
A lot of people that should have known what was going on really didn’t,” Saltry said.
But Saltry said he expects many TSG members to return next year as the General Assembly is put in place.
The assembly, Saltry said, will give students four opportunities to work with TSG – either as student organization representatives, representatives-at-large, college representatives or class representatives. Saltry said there will be seven committees dedicated to several different topics that will give members an opportunity to work on a variety of issues.
He said meetings will be held every Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Former-Student Body President Natalie Ramos-Castillo said the restructuring of TSG will fix some of the problems the organization faced this year. The previous structure, she said, hindered some of her goals including getting students involved with the organization.
“Changing the structure is going to allow TSG to accomplish what it’s meant to do – to really serve the student body,” Ramos-Castillo said.
Ramos-Castillo said her favorite part of being student body president was being given the chance to directly speak to administrators, referring to herself as a “mediator,” in that she could go to administrators with student concerns and bring back answers.
One of her biggest accomplishments, Ramos-Castillo said, was holding a rally on campus supporting funding for higher education and spreading the word about the proposed budget cuts and the effects they may have on students.
“It showed news and media outlets that Temple students cared and that [they] come out in masses when it comes to their education,” Ramos-Castillo said. “We got the word out there, and people actually cared.”
Saltry said that once the budget is finalized, he plans on working directly with Temple administration to “identify what student priorities are” regarding what areas should and should not be cut.
Saltry said he imagines tuition increases will be marginal. He said he spoke with President Ann Weaver Hart, who, he said, is committed to making sure “core student services,” such as advising and health care not drastically cut.
“The great value for in-state Temple students is sort of lost when that happens,” Saltry said. “While Temple’s a really great education, what makes it so attractive is its affordability.”
“Philly is great, but if I’m going to pay $20,000 a year, I’d rather go to an institution where I can get better services for that money,” Saltry added.
Non-traditional students, who work full-time and have families, Saltry said, would be especially hurt by a hike in tuition. He said he also expects the surrounding community and Temple’s building developments will also be affected.
Ramos-Castillo said she thinks even if tuition is only marginally raised, some students will not be able to afford to attend Temple.
Even though there’s “only so much they can do,” Ramos-Castillo said she hopes TSG members will meet with different departments and schools to find out what is essential for students to succeed and then bring that information back to administrators.
“These cuts are just bad across the board,” Saltry said. “They’re bad for pretty much everybody.”
Cary Carr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.