Students vs. staff for online access and availability

“Contact Us” page on (Courtesy/Saddleback College)

It’s been seemingly impossible to contact anyone on campus besides teachers since the closure of the school. Having to jump through hoops to get in contact with anyone makes me wonder, why are students expected to jump headfirst into a full schedule of online classes, but staff is not held to the same expectations?

When wondering if I needed a to take a certain class or not, I sent an email to a counselor April 15. With so much going on, I forgot about the sent email until summer registration came around. As I had not heard back from the counselor, I asked my instructor his suggestion. He suggested I call the counselors office.

Before my registration date, I called the counselors office twice during the day with no answer either time. I registered for the class not knowing if I needed it with the thought I could always drop it later if I don’t, instead of missing a spot in the class if I did need it. After still not hearing back from the counselor almost a month later, I forwarded the first email to her to see if I should drop the class, even though it was in my MAP, but not necessary.

My instructor reached out and found that I could drop the class as I didn’t need it. Once I dropped the class, I pulled up the refund request form to fill out and turn in. The form stated the credit card information could not be emailed to the office, it had to be physically turned into the office. With the campus being locked down, there was no way to drop it off. I called the payments office phone number to ask how I should submit the form. There was no live person to speak to at the payment office number or the main school number. Instead, the automated message said to email any questions to [email protected].

I did this, and the next day was met with a message in my inbox stating that that email is not accepting messages at this time. I went to the school website and submitted a question five days ago and have yet to get a response. After not having any answers I decided to join president Sterns Friday Zoom meetings for the Q&A section. After logging on and sitting through the stadium update and gardening at home tips, almost an hour later, the Q&A section came up. Just at this moment, the counselor I had contacted on 4/15 called me at 10:55a.m. and asked how she could help. I presented my question and she said she could not help me in the five minutes before her 11am meeting and would call me back. After this, I logged back into the Zoom with Stern just as the Q&A was ending. I typed my question and it did not get answered. The counselor called me back an hour later and we figured I did not need the class. I still have the $138 credit on my account and with no campus openings in sight after fall semester cancelation, who knows when it will be refunded.

All this runaround makes me wonder, why so much pressure on students to be in class discussions, weekly zoom meetings, daily sign-ins to, why are the staff that claimed to be “all available remotely” not held to the same level of availability?