USG initiates dialogue with The Globe

Originally published in the Globe March 19, 2014

United Student Government (USG) President Dillon Kunkle will meet with Globe Editor-in-Chief Andrew Goldstein to discuss what he called “misrepresentation” and “misinformation” in last week’s Globe’s Point.

“It’s our job to respond to [The Globe’s Point],” said Kunkle on Monday in the Student and Convocation Center. “This is the first time we’ve seen something this year we have to respond to.”

In last week’s issue, the Globe’s Point titled “USG fails to stand up for students,” reported on USG’s dealing with school administration on the unionization of adjuncts.

“USG heard numerous testimonials about the correlations between unionization and a better education,” according to the Globe’s Point. “If USG members don’t understand this correlation, they need to listen better.”

Kunkle’s argument is USG members put in the time to get informed and hear both sides. He said USG made the decision to “not assume unionization will solve the problems” and the issue of adjunct unionization was “outside of the scope of the classroom.”

“We were smart enough to stretch it out over four weeks,” Kunkle said. “We were smart enough to meet with these people numerous times, formally and informally. And then we were smart enough to get the other side, the University’s rebuttal to it.”

Kunkle said he was proud of USG members for asking the right questions, getting feedback and making informed decisions about the situation.

“To be told ‘You did this wrong and you don’t have the students’ best interests in mind,’ it’s hard,” Kunkle said.

According to Kunkle, USG is seeking more direct routes for improving education, such as being  an active voice in changes to curriculum and advising practices rather than “pretending to understand the relationship between unionization and education.”

“We chose the education of students over an economic issue,” Kunkle said. “We spent time getting informed and we still didn’t know [if unionization of adjuncts would improve education].”

Kunkle said University President Paul Hennigan will attend next week’s USG meeting to discuss new advising policies.

The issue of advising as face-to-face contact between students and faculty has deeper implications, such as graduating on time and being assured access to the best equipment and education, according to Kunkle.

Kunkle said the relationship between USG and The Globe is better than it has been in past years, but there’s still room for improvement.

“We’re going to discuss opening a channel of communication to avoid spreading misinformation,” Kunkle said. “We’re not pitting two sides against one another. It’s just when there’s misinformation we have to respond.”

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