Opinion | Students should have more say in the big decisions


Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan

The Old Capitol building is seen on March, 6, 2021.

Kyle Tristan Ortega, Opinions Columnist

In a spring update video, it was announced that the University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts had begun planning for certain changes to be made by 2025. A common theme, based on statements given by Dean Sara Sanders to The Daily Iowan, is that the voices of the college’s faculty will be heavily incorporated.

There was emphasis on relying on faculty voices as they are a vital part of the institution; it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. However, there was little mention of student involvement. Students in the College of Liberal Arts should have more say in important policy implementation and decision-making as it will improve student satisfaction and integration.

UI art major Ragad Osman said she thinks students should have a say in policies because they are the ones who will be affected most by them.

“I think if all of us are going to be affected, then it would be good to at least have some say in it or some impact,” Osman said.

By no means are college students experts on institutional policy, budget handling, and so forth. Regardless, they are one of the primary stakeholders of every institution and recognizing them is beneficial.

Specifically, should the opposite be the case, it would lead to a disconnect between college and student, resulting in dissatisfaction and a hampered college experience.

According to a survey in 2021 of 2,000 undergraduates from different universities, only 21 percent voiced concerns as many perceived little to no action would be taken by officials. These statistics show a lack of integration between universities and students.

The school would do well to avoid this lack because not doing so would hinder the success of its students. This is supported by a study that shows students who perceive higher connectedness with their universities experience higher emotional wellbeing and better health; hence, increasing the odds of academic success.

Moreover, if the College of Liberal Arts allows students to more meaningfully impact policy and change, students would be seven times more likely to be motivated academically as they would experience more feelings of self-worth, engagement, and purpose.

Again, the UI’s College of Liberal Arts should involve students in big decisions, the type of involvement that sees the college being completely transparent and consulting with the student body all throughout the decision-making process.

This would ultimately lead to higher rates of satisfaction and integration from better policies that offer more support for healthy development; thus making the university a more welcoming place for all of its constituents.

One goal Sanders mentioned in the report by The Daily Iowan is making Iowa the place people want to be. To answer that question, who better to consult than the students? The school’s target audience and the people who experience what the UI has to offer every single day.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.