Geneseo Speaks’ petitions suffer delays, causing frustration

Student Association’s petition website Geneseo Speaks currently showcases few resolved petitions and multiple petitions waiting for official responses. Only three petitions have received responses since the website’s creation on March 1.

Once a student creates a petition, SA reviews and then posts it to the front page of the website, according to SA Director of Public Relations junior Barak Stockler. SA has so far approved every petition and Stockler stressed that the approval process is not meant to filter petitions. The time between recognition and a response can vary depending on the petition, according to Stockler.

“Once they’re in the recognized section, the Student Association has an obligation to respond to the petitions and to look into them, so we sort them based upon what they pertain to,” Stockler said. “Essentially, if the petitions are a bit more small-scale or if it’s a very quick one step process, we personally deal with them.” 

Other more complicated petitions sometimes move to the Student Senate, according to SA Vice President senior Jarred Okosun. The Student Senate then has the responsibility to try and draft suggestions or recommendations for the organizations or individuals to which the petitions are directed.

Stockler acknowledged that the petition process is not particularly efficient, but hopes that can change soon. 

“It really frustrates me, I look at the page every day and I see so many petitions that haven’t been responded to,” Stockler said. “As the Student Senate really gets together, goes through their first couple petitions, they’re going to really hit a pace to go through them.”

Accounting major junior Rohan Bhuchar is the author of one of the 14 recognized petitions currently waiting for a response. Bhuchar was told that his petition—which looks to extend the weekday access times for on campus students to be allowed into residence buildings they don’t live in—has been assigned to the Student Life Committee of the Student Senate. Despite not yet receiving a response, he was pleased with Geneseo Speaks. 

“I would strongly recommend people use the website; it’s a good way to get your voice heard,” Bhuchar said. “I think it really is the best way right now to get your ideas out there for the Geneseo community.”

History major junior Daniel Kahl has authored multiple petitions on Geneseo Speaks, including one that has been responded to and one that has only been recognized. The recognized petition, which requests mandatory safe zone training for all faculty and staff, has been waiting for a response for months; Kahl has not received any communication from SA about the petition.

Kahl believes the process would be less frustrating if SA communicated with the petitioner once the required number of signatures was reached. Despite his consternation, Kahl was optimistic about Geneseo Speaks. 

“I honestly think it’s a great system in theory,” he said. “In practice, it’s still getting some of the issues ironed out, and there’s only so much that students can make happen immediately, but I think it’s a good way to put pressure on the administration for things that we want to have happen.” 

Stockler and Okosun both expressed satisfaction with Geneseo Speaks, noting the importance of providing students with a platform to raise issues. 

“The point of Geneseo Speaks isn’t necessarily to create the solutions to the problems, but it’s to start the conversation,” Stockler said. “If enough people sign a petition, we want to take on the responsibility to find the root of the issue and really talk about it and come up with the solutions.”u