Chancellor Jimmy Cheek wants to communicate with students, and he wants to do it better. He made that clear to The Daily Beacon in an hour-long sit down he did recently with the paper.
Cheek said that one of the primary goals for the upcoming year is to communicate effectively with students and to listen to what they have to say.
The chancellor said he is willing and able to meet with any student who wants to voice their concerns or has questions in person.
"From my perspective, I feel like I have very good communication with any student I get to interact with," Cheek said. "My issue is I don't get to interact with many different students and I'd like to interact with more."
Coming back from spring break, Cheek said that one parent told him that her daughter was shocked to find that the University Center parking garage was being tore down.
"'She always parked at that garage and you all took it down and nobody told her,'" Cheek said quoting the mother.
Cheek said that UT has sent out items on cone zones as well as multiple public relation statements to let students know that demolition of the UC garage would be underway after spring break.
It's not just construction issues, but a variety of other areas where Cheek said that he felt like him and his administration have done a good job in communicating with students, but still need to do better.
"I'm not satisfied with the way that we communicate with students, but it is a priority for us," Cheek said. "We've certainly spent a lot of time with student leadership, we've had much more difficulty communicating with the whole student body."
Senator Cason Hewgley, Director of Public Relations for SGA and Arts and Sciences, and senior in political science, said that there is frequent interaction between student government and the chancellor.
"We eat lunch with the chancellors and other members of the administration at least once a month, which provides a great opportunity for dialogue," Hewgley said. "Also, members of the executive branch have a weekly meeting with the chancellor and the rest of the administration to discuss current campus issues."
Hewgley admits that he feels he may have a stronger pull than the average student towards the chancellor, but he said that the SGA is a pretty good representation of the student population as a whole.
"As far as SGA being truly representative of the student body, the annual elections are fairly held in a democratic fashion, so the elected body accurately represents the preferences of those who voted," Hewgley said.
In the meetings that Cheek has had with student leadership, he's agreed that communication with students is more necessary than it's ever been.
One of the tactics he's used to communicate with students is setting up lunches with those who reach out to him with questions and concerns.
"Anything students have asked me to go to I've gone to," Cheek said. "We try to have some meetings with students, sometimes that's successful and sometimes that's not."
A self-proclaimed student-oriented person, Cheek knows that the challenge is trying to effectively reach 20,000 students.
Hewgley said he believes the perception of students is that Cheek is out of touch with students' interests.