November: Joint efforts of students, HSSC necessary to improve Open Forum

In response to students’ complaints about the HSSC’s lack of activity within the school, the Student Improvement Committee (SIC) initiated an Open Forum on Oct. 14. Through this forum, all students can directly articulate their concerns to the HSSC and offer suggestions as well. However, instead of frequently and effectively utilizing this forum, students anonymously submitted frivolous comments in the month of October, and have recently indicated a lack of interest.

With the exception of a few posters, most have either commented on completely irrelevant topics or have expressed their complaints in an inappropriate manner. While some students have expressed legitimate concerns, they have failed to explain the importance of such issues and their relevance to the student body. Others have even gone so far as to adopt pseudonyms to mimic characters from Game of Thrones or call for a feminist-only school.

The assumption that such behavior is justified by the lack of  a rigid set of rules pertaining to the Open Forum highlights students’ lack of understanding. According to Eugene Yang (12), senior class vice president, the SIC purposely linked the Open Forum to Moodle and allowed students to submit anonymous responses to provide all students with the chance to freely discuss their concerns. Therefore, instead of abusing these privileges, students should honestly but respectfully contribute to the Open Forum.

However, it is important to address not only the inappropriate responses accumulated during the month of October, but also the lack of recent responses. Though there were 24 responses in October, this month, only three were submitted. This decrease in numbers is not surprising given that the SIC launched the Open Forum in October, but still demonstrates room for improvement.

Considering that the HSSC has made the forum accessible to all students but has not advertised it frequently, the recent lack of participation is understandable. Furthermore, the HSSC’s delay in responding to the legitimate concerns that students have shared may have discouraged them from offering additional comments.

To resolve these issues, the HSSC can implement a system in which SIC members answer all reasonable submissions through public forums such as Moodle or the HSSC blog. Additionally, active promotion of the Open Forum as well as guidelines for its purpose would aid in the reduction of unimportant, inappropriate comments and bring in more sensible ones. If students make a few adjustments to their mindset while the HSSC publicizes the forum’s objective, the two groups can meet halfway to improve the school.