The difficulty of doing business with various offices on campus has long been a notoriously common complaint of Drexel students. When President John A. Fry came to the University in 2010, he was quick to acknowledge and address the problem. The opening of Drexel Central this July was a historic milestone in the ongoing process of making it as easy as possible for students to take care of Drexel-related business. With the offices of financial aid, the bursar and the registrar now combined into a single office, students can expect a more efficient process of addressing financial and registration problems.
The Editorial Board has heard many horror stories of students suffering major setbacks in their academic careers because various Drexel offices gave them the runaround and failed to help them solve their problems in a timely manner. It’s very encouraging to see such a major change aimed at making these scenarios a thing of the past. However, the administration must not make the mistake of thinking that a sleek and more efficient office will solve the communication problems between the University and its students. Even if it proves to be as successful as we hope it will be, it only involves three offices at the University level. Students also have to do business with the colleges, academic departments and nonacademic offices all over campus and often encounter many of the same problems with these offices that Drexel Central seeks to solve for the offices it consolidated.
One such longstanding problem has been the difficulty of visiting campus offices while on co-op. It’s frustrating that on an academic calendar designed for approximately half the student body to be on co-op at any given time, University officials seem to forget about the students who leave campus to work for (at least) 40 hours per week. There are some campus offices that are only open during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday, when most students on co-op are expected to be at work.
Because we’re still students and are still paying tuition while we’re on co-op, there are some issues that will arise that cannot be solved while working full-time. Our professors and co-op advisers would probably not encourage us to be on the phone trying to solve University issues while we’re expected to be working. They would certainly not encourage us to take a day off from work or duck out a few hours early in order to go to these offices in person. If we’re supposed to be ideal employees while we’re on co-op, shouldn’t the University make an effort to cater to the needs of students working full time? A helpful solution to students on co-op would be for University offices to have more evening hours. We don’t necessarily mean extremely late nights, but enough time for students who work until 5 p.m. to commute back to campus and work on tackling their issues. Some offices do already have limited evening hours, but not all do, and the limited evening hours already in place might not always be sufficient for students on co-op who have busy schedules after work throughout the week.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for a student’s account to be put on hold until certain issues are resolved. With a short 10-week term and limited time to register for classes that require more competition to register for than normal, students on co-op would like to have an equal chance to resolve their issues compared to students in classes. If it is partly the University’s fault that a student can’t resolve an issue and therefore can’t register for a necessary class on time because it is full, it could seriously affect whether that student graduates on time, which is unfair to the student.
The opening of Drexel Central will hopefully make it easier to solve financial and registration problems. University officials should continue to work toward making it more convenient for students on co-op to visit campus offices without having to take time out of their workday.