Thursday, March 27, 2014

Study Abroad Safety, by Lara Spillmon

             Chancellor Joe Gow’s Open Forum on March 11 started with a  heated discussion about the topic of students in the international studies program.
              Students are being overcharged, said  Donna Anderson, Professor of Economics.  Students are able to receive very limited help due to the school having a lack of funds. However, she  asked  that if this was the case, why were  two new staff members added to international studies.
            In response, Gow offered that a meeting be set up for a later time because he wasn’t sure of what she was talking about. Gow said that he “hasn’t been involved in this” so he would be unable to answer the questions. 
            Anderson added that there was a lack of safety felt by the faculty being forced to work in this department in regards to a lack of support towards the students studying internationally. She implied that the only reason why the students that studied internationally were safe at all was because of the faculty that accompanied them. Gow countered this by saying “to imply that there are bad things going on, you can’t just do that!” He went on to imply that Anderson was conducting an attack rather than asking questions that she felt needed to be answered.

            Anderson  answered  “it doesn’t have to be friendly….just because I ask hard questions doesn’t mean it’s an attack.”  In regards to the lack of safety, Gow  said “I can assure you we are very particular when people go abroad.” Shortly after this Gow opened the floor to the rest of the room to see if he could get some different opinions from others that had done international studies through the school,  leading to the end of the conversation.