The Student Association did not seem to be particularly active this semester, which is largely par for the course. However, the SA bungled its elections this year, drawing criticism for not publicizing the elections widely enough, which led to them being postponed. We are looking forward to next year’s executive board, which seems to balance knowledgeable SA veterans with new ideas.
Although some students had mixed opinions about Foster the People and DRAM’s performances at Spring Fling, we believe the SAPB did a good job of accommodating fans of both music genres. Additionally, we were happy the SAPB chose a headliner that was not a hip-hop artist for the event, since last year’s artist was rapper Mac Miller. In terms of comedy shows and guest speakers, we feel that SAPB should have brought more widely popular figures to BU, especially since in recent years, the body has drawn big names to campus stages.
UCC/Health Services: B-
Even with the major flu outbreak this semester, we believe that Decker Student Health Services did a good job of providing care to students. During the height of the outbreak in February, they distributed free cold and flu packs. However, they did not extend their walk-in hours, which are largely inconvenient for students. In the same vein, we acknowledge the University Counseling Center for making more counselors available after the tragedies that occurred this semester. However, we still believe the UCC is understaffed and many students are left in the dark as a result. We hope to see improvements next semester when the UCC adds three new counselors to its staff, which will provide more support for students.
This semester, Binghamton University saw two tragedies, and the campus community is still grieving. We felt the administration’s initial responses to the deaths of Haley Anderson and Joao Souza were lacking in detail and timeliness, however, we also acknowledge the immense difficulty of these situations. We felt the 44-minute delay in sending out a B-Alert following Souza’s death was unacceptable. Additionally, we criticized the FAQ released by the University to address student concerns, which we felt was misleading and raised more questions than it answered. Nevertheless, the administration’s efforts seemed sincere — University President Harvey Stenger’s reaction to the deaths was emotional and appropriate at the time. In the past several weeks, we have seen signs of improvement — the University has pledged to supplement the current B-Alert system with a new Alertus Emergency Mass Notification System that will allow dispatchers to send general alerts out in minutes. We commend these recent efforts, however, we also recognize that it is far too early to truly judge their impacts. Consequently, the administration has earned a grade of incomplete, and we hope to see them implement more changes next semester.
University Libraries: A
The University Libraries receive our highest grade for several reasons. This semester, they expanded efforts to help faculty develop open educational resources through a grant program and encouraged students to use those resources. The libraries announced they will be moving some of their expanding collections into a vacant former U.S. Postal Service building downtown, a signal that they are considering long-term growth and their relationship with the community. Most recently, the libraries, like other departments on campus, have been facing budget cuts, which they have addressed with transparency and a request for the input of University community members about how to allocate funds.
It has certainly been a spring semester to forget for the athletics department. Despite noteworthy seasons for women’s lacrosse, wrestling and women’s basketball, the remaining spring and winter sports failed to lived up to expectations.
On the topic of basketball, the department made a questionable decision in allowing BU head coach Tommy Dempsey to return. Binghamton was the only team in the America East Conference that did not reach the postseason this past year, capturing only two conference games over the 16-game season. Dempsey’s Bearcats have gone a lackluster 47-137 in the years he has been the head coach.
Softball and baseball are far from their usual place at the top of their conference. Softball, which only played its first home game on May 2 after months of anticipating playing on the new field, has had its ups and downs throughout the entire season despite posting a .500 conference record. Senior outfielder Jessica Rutherford continues to keep the Bearcats’ offense hot with consistent production in the batter’s box while sophomore pitcher Rayn Gibson boasts 82 strikeouts on the year. The team will take on Albany in the second round of the AE Tournament after defeating Maine Wednesday morning.
Baseball is currently out of the playoff picture even though the team, similar to softball, was the regular season champion last year. BU has to win more games in its upcoming series than the Black Bears in their upcoming five conference matches. The Bearcats have not captured a conference series since early April, so the chances of reaching the postseason are bleak.