The next open forum is Oct. 21 at St. Philip’s College.
By Melissa Luna
Problems with ACES, Canvas and registration were concerns students brought up at a “student dialogue and listening forum” Wednesday in the nursing complex.
Chancellor Bruce Leslie and college President Robert Vela led the forum for students to voice the biggest issues they are facing at Alamo Colleges.
About 140 students sat at round tables and answered four questions provided by the chancellor’s office. The questions asked for issues of concern to students, what the district can do to address them and how the district can improve communication with students.
Parking problems and a difficult enrollment process were among the biggest concerns students voiced as representatives of each table came to the podium.
“I’m actually surprised that there are a lot of the same common problems here,” student trustee Sami Adames said. The Northwest Vista criminal justice sophomore has been appointed a nonvoting trustee to serve on the governing board of Alamo Colleges.
First-time-in-college students addressed the admissions and registration problems they faced.
They were being redirected from one department to another on campus because employees couldn’t answer their questions, according to the reports from the discussions at the tables.
Students who relied on phone calls and online help also had complaints.
Being put on hold, disconnected and transferred to various departments led to students being on the phone for long periods, which they couldn’t afford because of work or other commitments.
One student said he was on hold and transferred for more than three hours.
Returning students experienced the same problems.
With the upgrade to ACES the week before classes started Aug. 24, students reported that problems escalated because of technical issues with ACES and Canvas. Every ACES user had to switch to new site and reset passwords, which caused problems during a period students were making schedule changes and getting financial aid awards.
Students want to use Canvas to their full potential and be able to interact with their professors and classmates without experiencing technical problems, they reported.
Multimedia specialist Sean Ryan said the office of technology services will address the complaints about technology.
Students said they could not park after 9 a.m. even with two parking garages, and they were interested in solutions, such as a third parking garage.
Leslie addressed concerns students had regarding legislation that will go into effect in August 2017, allowing any with a concealed carry license to bring guns on campus.
Leslie said students with concealed carry licenses are allowed to keep guns in their vehicles now.
“We cannot figure out a way to prevent carry entirely on our campuses,” Leslie said. “Legislation will not allow us.”
The district would like to develop a policy taking into consideration students’ opinions, he said.
After hearing students concerns, Leslie said the administration will work with the Student Government Association at each college to seek solutions.
Leslie and Vela encouraged students to attend other district-wide forums.
Other forums are Oct. 21 at St. Philips College; Nov. 11 at Northwest Vista College; Nov. 12 at Northeast Lakeview College; and Dec. 3 at St. Philip’s College Southwest Campus.
Students are also encouraged to submit questions and concerns to Harley Williams, Student Government Association president, and Michelle C. Perales, deputy to the chancellor.
The SGA office is located at 216B in Loftin Student Center and can reached at 210-486-0133.
Perales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-485-0031.