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Few attend meeting to bridge communication gap between students and M Center

ASMC held a town hall meeting on Monday Apr. 13 to address student issues with the M Center. However, the discussion was poorly attended.

Out of the 25 students who were present, 20 were resident assistants that were required to attend as part of their weekly meeting, three were ASMC officers, and only two were concerned students.

Those who did attend addressed issues of how the M Center operates and serves the Mills population.

“We need to prioritize projects with what a majority of the student body needs,” said David Gin, the associate vice president for Student Finance and Administrative Services and director of Financial Aid.

Gin also emphasized that the M Center does not create policy-the administration does.

One issue was lost forms. Students complained that they have turned in forms to the M Center only to find out later that the form had been lost or not received by the appropriate staff. Students would then have to redo the form.

Gin suggested that the M Center give out a receipt or copy of the forms they receive. The students present agreed with this suggestion.

Gin also indicated that the M Center is investigating ways for students to fill out some forms online but there has been no decision yet which forms would be available online.

He said this would be an effective way to reduce time staff spends on entering data and give them time to attend to other responsibilities.

Shari Keller, the director of Undergraduate Financial Aid, reminded students that they can use the drop box in the M Center. The drop box allows students to drop their forms in the box without having to wait to speak to M Center staff.

However, students complained about the ineffectiveness of the drop box. As junior Ashley Grant said, “You can’t put most forms in there.”

Keller said communication and feedback is important in serving student needs.

She suggested that students give feedback as to why the drop box works or doesn’t work so that the process can be improved.

“It may help, it may help only slightly,” she said.

Junior RA Lisa Kelly said it’s hard for students to come to the M Center and give that feedback because the M Center hours conflict with many students’ class and work schedules.

She suggested an online forum so that students could give feedback in their free time, and the M Center staff said they would be open to such a forum.

Freshwoman Kristyne Lange said she has had issues with Tuition Management Systems being out of sync with the M Center, so she came to the town hall meeting.

According to Lange, her tuition payments were made on time but TMS did not register them as paid because Mills had yet to put it in their system. Her family then had to make another payment in order to stop calls from TMS.

At the end of the meeting, Lange said she felt the M Center heard her concerns. “I feel a sense of closure with my issues for this year,” she said.

The biggest issue Lange said she sees is that not enough students are getting involved in the process of giving feedback.

“Students are not taking initiative, but they continuously complain,” she said.

The people present discussed creating an ASMC position that would exist just as a means of communication and representation between the M Center and the student body.

The staff from the M Center said they are willing to hear students’ concerns and work with students to come up with something that works for both students and the administration.

Forms that students can put in the drop box include:

– Change of Address

– Change of Advisor

– Credit Value Change

– Cross Registration Permit

– Enrollment Verification Request

– Independent Study

– International Study

– Petition for Candidacy