The open forum for Jow Gow on Dec. 13th allotted time for student and staff questions. The two main concerns brought to Gow’s attention at the forum was the construction on campus and the installation of the seventy-five-dollar fee for late student bills.
Gow began with discussing the aesthetic of the buildings on campus, “We are going to focus on preserving the old and still functional parts of the buildings while adding detail to the worn-down areas.”
Gow entertained attendees by giving an overview of the future of construction at UWL and what to expect. Most faculty were eager for the future of UWL but a few had questions about the projects.
Gow calmed the crowd, he reassured, “La Crosse is doing a lot of good work, but we are still learning as a school. There is a lot that still has to be done, but that is not in saying that we have not accomplished a lot already. We are a top UW system school.”
When Cartwright was brought into question, Gow explained the future of the building and others on campus, “There is no affirmative date that we have for Cartwright being demolished. We use Cartwright as a holding building for many staff and organizations. As an eco-friendly campus, we are focused on creating more green space and aesthetically pleasing areas for students and staff.”
Gow continued, “It will still be six to ten years until all of the construction is completed – the aesthetics on the UWL campus are very important.”
Students attending were questioning where the money is coming from for these projects considering we are currently in a tuition freeze. Gow commented, “Because of the freeze, the money is coming from past students or from the segregation fees. These fees allow us to create new opportunities for the campus.”
Furthering the conversation on the finances of UWL, a student concern and question arose about the seventy-five-dollar late fee for tuition at UWL.
Gow and other faculty attempted to calm the atmosphere in the room, although the tension was undoubtedly noticeable. Many students have been troubled by the late fee as this is the first time it has been enforced. Student complaints centered around the lack of advertising, the unfairness of the rule, and the miscommunication of the policy to students.
A student began their comment with, “The new fee has confused many students because none of us really knew about. It was at the end of emails or poorly advertised and it put students at a disadvantage, especially those of low socioeconomic statuses.”
Gow chimed in with, “We are not trying to target low socioeconomic status, I think this policy is definitely impacting them, but that was not the intention of it. We never want to lose students or hurt their chance at an education.”
Betsy Morgan, the provost added, “We tried to advertise to students with email and such so they knew and we were under the assumption that all students were knowledgeable of the policy’s going into effect. Current freshmen knew about the fee because when they applied to UWL they were told, but this policy is hurting older students because it is an adjustment.”
A student replied with, “Many students still do not know of this so if it was instituted again we need better communication between the students and the faculty about the smaller rules within the policy.”
A faculty member replied with, “The main rule for the policy says the charges after November 22nd will be on the spring semester bill, not the current one. So, students do not have to worry about any bills after that date.”
Overall, the open forum with Gow was a productive time to discuss the future and policies of UWL.