By Angela Twining
President Merrill J. Bateman answered student questions in the Wilkinson Center Terrace in the morning of Thursday, March 22 in this semester”s Town Meeting.
President Bateman addressed many questions by urging students to get involved and take their issues directly to the Student Advisory Council or their professors.
“To me, BYUSA and the students have a very strong voice in the university,” he said. “It”s through SAC that we reach into clubs and reach into colleges on campus.”
John Bennion, 25, a senior from Wenatchee, Wash., majoring in mechanical engineering, is SAC chair and BYUSA vice president.
He said these question and answer periods cut out the middle man, allow students direct contact with President Bateman and let him feel the student pulse.
“There”s never any harm to have the president talk to students one-on-one,” Bennion said.
Bennion said BYUSA provides no better thing than President Bateman”s Q&A.
He said President Bateman takes these meetings to heart and often asks the students how they would handle the situation to give them initiative.
Aaron Johnson, 23, a junior from Kingburg, Calif., majoring in history, gained some initiative from expressing concern about social security numbers as identification codes.
Johnson said he is hesitant to put his social security number on his homework, and asked President Bateman about the development of a new ID system.
“We are developing other student identification numbers. I think we are as close as this fall,” President Bateman said.
He encouraged Johnson to work with his professor to alleviate present concerns. Johnson said he was impressed President Bateman takes the time to address student questions.
“He has integrity and (the question and answer period) shows he”s responsible as a president,” Johnson said.
“Honestly, he knows what goes on. He”s on top of things, in fact, he”s ahead of things,” he said.
Questions were raised concerning technology, multiculturalism, music at dances, questionable books in the Bookstore, teacher evaluations and even evolution.
President Bateman said BYU is working on a wireless Internet that may be in place in as little as two years.
To those concerned about the nature of music at BYU dances, President Bateman stressed his concern for students to get involved with SAC.
“We need to have a student perspective on this. We need to know where the students are,” he said.
He also said teacher evaluations do have great influence in departments. They gauge both rank promotions and salary increases.