Presentations from University President Troy Paino, Truman State’s Student Government and a proposed resolution that calls for gender-neutral housing options highlighted Truman’s Feb. 7 Board of Governors meeting.
Paino and the two Student Government speakers, president senior Andrew Paulman and vice president junior Molly Turner, gave reports that outlined the broad state of affairs at Truman from their perspectives.
Paino began his presentation by giving a update about Missouri state government proceedings. He spent most of his time discussing his Jan. 27 State of the University Address and his desire to “express frustration.”
Paino acknowledged and apologized for his harsh tone during the address, but said he was frustrated at a devaluing of liberal arts education by politicians.
“I think [politicians] are making the wrong decisions in terms of what kind of education we are pursuing,” Paino said.
Paino discussed his frustration with some internal affairs at the University. He cited the ongoing two-year discussion about the possible implementation of plus/minus grading as an issue that he said he thinks too much time is being devoted to.
“As Rome is burning, sometimes we talk about things that aren’t important,” Paino said.
Paino reiterated five action-items from his State of the University address he wanted to see implemented at Truman, including an increased use of technology in the classroom, higher qualifications for a course to be considered a Liberal Arts and Sciences course and a higher emphasis on interdisciplinary studies.
Paino said considering his expressed views, he will take a more proactive and aggressive leadership style as president to implement his ideas.
“I think it’s time for a little more forceful leadership given the challenges that TSU is facing,” Paino said.
Paulman and Turner presented their “State of the Students” presentation to the Board after Paino’s presentation.
Paulman discussed projects Student Senate is working on, including getting more campus printers for students and altering the attendance policy for students missing class for Truman events.
“We feel like students should be able to pursue extracurricular opportunities, especially if Truman is providing scholarships to do so, and still pursue the higher education so important the University,” Paulman said.
Paulman and Turner spoke about improving sustainability around campus and working to improve Title IX sexual assault reporting. Paulman said he wanted to offer immunity to underage students who had been drinking and witnessed a Title IX violation but thought they couldn’t report it for fear of being punished.
Junior Zach Hollstrom, chair of the Student Government Campus Diversity Committee, and senior Jessie Poole, committee member, discussed a proposed Gender Neutral Housing Pilot Program. Hollstrom and Poole gave student input to inform the Board and assist them in making a final decision about the matter.
“This would be most meaningful for the LGBTQ community,” Hollstrom said.
Hollstrom and Poole addressed some immediate concerns, such as the perception that heterosexual couples would take advantage of the option.
The speakers discussed how the policy could benefit students who do not see themselves definitively as either male or female, and therefore are disadvantaged and even occasionally sexually “outed” by the gender structure Residence Life at Truman currently uses. The Board is set to discuss these issues and come up with a decision about implementation soon.
The rest of the meeting consisted of an emergency notification system demonstration and committee reports from the morning meetings. Highlights from the committee reports included a discussion about renovation plans, which include replacing Pickler Memorial Library windows, and purchasing a new University snowplow.
The next Board meeting was approved for April 11.