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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Students should speak up

 
 

In a recent interview with President R. Bowen Loftin, he mentioned a need to revamp the Vision 2020 plan for Texas A&M and asked for student input.
For most students, the idea of a student government is laughable, conjuring images of aspiring high school socialites jostling for do-nothing positions to pad their resumes. But the student government and voice of the average student can be heard. Despite the real challenges facing our University, real progress can be made, because Loftin listens.
The Legislative Budget Board has directed all universities and colleges in the state to submit a plan to potentially reduce its budget 15 percent by 2014-2015. Over the next two years, Texas A&M is preparing to cut $26 million, while keeping tuition increases one of the lowest in the state.
“We are doing our plans for the request from next biennium, which includes the 10 percent [cut],” Loftin said. “We have a group convening which will include the student body president as well as the graduate student council president to help make the recommendations directly to me as to how to actually make these things happen. The student leadership will be directly involved in all the decision-making here.”
These cuts will impact Vision 2020 as well, which encompasses 12 primary goals to bring Texas A&M to a top 20 school by 2020. Among these goals is strengthening the graduate and undergraduate experience to bolster the overall level of education.
“I am going to convene a group of individuals next academic year, beginning in September, that will include students both current and former that will help me. I call it Recalibrate Vision 2020,” Loftin said. “[Let’s] make sure all the premises we use to generate it 12 years ago are still valid. If they’re not, let’s recalibrate that part of the plan.”
Vision 2020 started under Robert Gates in 1999 and needs to be recharged to make sure it’s still in line with our ever-changing needs. 11 years almost seems like forever; since then we have had nearly two full classes of undergraduates leave Aggieland and two different administrations changes.
“I don’t mean to remove or change in any real way the long-term goals; the question is what are the actual actions we’ll take to reach those goals,” Loftin said. “Things have changed in 12 years. We have to recognize it’s time to renew it, refresh it and put it back in front of the entire community here, including all of our students and say let’s embrace this again now, nine years out.”
The challenges that our current classes face are much different from a decade ago, and Loftin wants to know your opinion on Vision 2020 and receive input from the students who will shape the future of this University. In this upcoming school year, there will be forums where students can express their sentiments.
For so many years, students have claimed their ideas and concerns have been unheeded by a cold, sterile administration handing edicts down from an ivory tower. But those times are over; it is time to act. Loftin is giving you the opportunity to speak, and he will listen.
“It’s a team effort obviously, and the students are really the most important members of the team,” Lofin said.
If you consider Loftin’s track record with students, overt attention has been paid to the needs of the students. Loftin is frequently seen around campus having lunch with students or going to student events such as the Student Employee of the Year awards banquet. He has responded by raising tuition only 2.8 percent or $104, standing up for student against the 3.95 percent or $280 increase recommended by a resolution passed in the Texas Legislature.
The president’s enthusiasm should be met with an equal level of eagerness to contribute. The apathetic never accomplish anything, so exercise your chance to change things by letting the president of Texas A&M know what matters to you.
Texas A&M has grown so much in its 134 years of existence. But there is still much Aggies can and must do. Do not waste the opportunity to bridge the gap between administration and the student body. Get out to the forums and make your voice part of the discussion. Goal 10 of the Vision 2020 imperatives is to “demand enlightened governance and leadership.” Loftin is the sort of dynamic leadership that can bring about great changes for Texas A&M, and he wants student help to build a better University for all Aggies, now and in the future.

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