Student Advisory Council aims to strut its stuff

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    By ERIC ANDERSON

    The Student Advisory Council is planning an “aggressive and proactive” public relations campaign next semester, SAC officers said.

    The campaign is in response to a general lack of awareness concerning SAC and its functions.

    Students expressed concern that they felt they didn’t have a voice with the administration, Nov. 13, during President Bateman’s Q&A, which dealt mostly with the Rodin exhibit. In response, BYUSA issued several statements in an effort to educate the BYU community about SAC.

    “Administrators want to give students the best possible university experience, but they cannot do that without student input,” said Karen Duffin, BYUSA public relations director. “This is why the Student Advisory Council was created. The administration welcomes student input and is very willing to address issues and make necessary changes through the Student Advisory Council.”

    Darcelle Watkins, BYUSA vice president over SAC, warned students not to mistake BYUSA or SAC for a student senate. “We are a student service association, not a student government. We are here to advise the administration about student concerns and vice versa.”

    According to SAC information, the council is made up of two elected representatives from each college on campus. Additionally, 10 representatives from major special-interest groups, are appointed to the council. These special interest groups include minorities, students of other faiths, and non-traditional students.

    These representatives, according to the SAC Basic Information Packet, “actively reach out to their constituents to seek student opinion on issues facing BYU and then research and propose ways to facilitate them.”

    SAC representatives reach out to their constituents with booths in their respective colleges every other week on Monday and Tuesday, according to a news release. The council also has bulleting boards in some colleges “with the name, picture, and how to contact your SAC representatives.”

    Both of these programs will be expanded as part of the new public relations campaign, Watkins said.

    The news release also said SAC is searching for a permanent location for an ideas booth “where students can express concerns or submit ideas for an activity.” SAC also has a hotline where students can “leave a message with concerns, ideas, thoughts, questions, or issues for the Student Advisory Council.” The hotline is 378-7181.

    After a student uses one of these avenues to contact a SAC representitive with an issue he or she is concerned about, the issue begins the following process.

    First, the representitive brings the issue to the council. The issue is then referred to one of four SAC rep committees who research the issue.

    Upon researching the issue, the committee may discover that the issue is unresolvable or infeasible and the issue then dies.

    Often, the issue can be resolved by the committee itself. However, when the issue cannot be resolved by the committee, a proposal is drafted as a result of the research, and is submitted to the entire council for approval.

    At this stage, the proposal can be passed or denied by a council vote. If the proposal is passed, the SAC Vice President, Darcelle Watkins, a BYUSA officer, reviews the proposal and sends it to the BYUSA student body president, Dallin Anderson, for review. The proposal does not require the approval of either BYUSA officer, but is submitted for review only.

    The student body president and SAC vice president then pass the proposal to the Dean of Students, Janet S. Scharman. If the proposal is in her jurisdiction, she has authority to pass the proposal and send it to the Student Life vice president, Alton L. Wade, or to deny the proposal.

    If the proposal is not within her jurisdiction, she is still given a copy of the proposal for review purposes and to stay informed about the various proposals coming from SAC. If the proposal is not within her jurisdiction, the proposal is given to the appropriate university personnel for possible approval and implementation.

    Once the Student Life vice president receives the proposal, he can deny it or allow the student body president, or in technical situations the SAC representitive most familiar with the proposal, to present the proposal to President’s Council, which President Bateman heads, and or the Board of Trustees.

    This is the final stage of submission for the proposal. Here the president’s council and or Board of Trustees will either deny the proposal or approve it and ensure its implementation.

    Wade and members of the president’s council consider SAC and student concerns a high priority.

    “I personally am very available and willing to talk to students at any time, and the members of the President’s Council rotate attendance at SAC meetings for the purpose of discussing issues,” Wade said.

    Wade said SAC proposals “are considered to represent a consensus of students across campus,” and “the process and stewardship of SAC are taken as seriously by the administration as the members of SAC take their responsibility.”

    Students are not the only ones who can contact the SAC with an issue for research. The administration can also submit an issue to SAC.

    Watkins said that not all proposals take this lengthy route. In fact, no proposals drafted by SAC this year have gone that far.

    Many proposals can be researched and then implemented by the committee of SAC representitives appointed to research an issue.

    For example, during the summer, students contacted SAC about extending Cougareat hours. A committee was appointed and researched the issue. In the process of researching the issue, a representitive spoke with dining services and from that conversation, dining services agreed to extend Cougareat hours. Here, like most issues this year, the issue did not have to leave the committee.

    Apparently, not very many students are aware that SAC exists to represent their concerns to the administration. Eleven students eating in the Cougareat were asked if they knew anything about SAC. Only one student knew that SAC was an advisory body that drafted proposals based on student concerns.

    Tyrene Rose, a senior from Heber City, majoring in English, said she has heard of SAC, but that’s all.

    “I’ve seen their booths in front of the library, but I’m not familiar with what they are all about,” she said.

    However, Rose said she hasn’t “made an effort to go and find out what they are all about.”

    Mike Hicks, a junior from Salt Lake City, majoring in marketing communications, gave a similar response. “I have heard of it (SAC), but I have no idea what its purpose is,” he said.

    Watkins and SAC executive director Michael-Todd Tewalt are well aware that most students don’t know about SAC.

    Tewalt said that SAC has planned an “aggressive and proactive public relations campaign” that should be completed by the end of this semester to be launched at the beginning of next semester.

    Part of the campaign will be to establish SAC bulletin boards in every college and to establish a permanent location for an ideas booth, he said.

    Both Watkins and Tewalt said they feel one of this year’s greatest SAC successes has been raising the level of awareness among students about the organization. The Q&A held by President Bateman on Nov. 13 brought SAC to students’ attention and let students know that they do have a voice with the administration.

    However, Watkins and Tewalt realize that although more students know about SAC this year, SAC still has a long way to go.

    Watkins said SAC meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in 3290 ELWC and the meetings are open to any student who would like to attend to give input, talk to their SAC rep or even just to find “what they are all about.”

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