On Tuesday Oct. 11, at 7:15 p.m., the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a town hall meeting aimed to answer questions from a lot of students.
One of the very first questions to start off the discussion was related to the Schmucker Science Center. WCU students have recently highlighted resurfaced writings of Science Center namesake Samuel Christain Schmucker, a well-known eugenicist. The student asked if the university was aware of this information and if they were going to do anything to change the building’s name.
President Christopher Fiorentino stated that “the issue has been brought to our attention” and also noted “The issue being raised around naming requirements for all of our buildings, what the processes are for putting names on them, and what the processes are for potentially removing them. So, this is in the process. We’re working on a policy and procedure process to apply to the question and if… at this point that is where we are in the process.”
Another question was if Kosher and Halal food options would be made available on campus. Dining Hall Services’ Karen Varieur’s response was, although they do have the food for both these religions, they do not have a kitchen that specifically makes only that type of food. They also stated that they are planning on opening up new places with prepackaged foods that are strictly for those religions.
The President and the Director of Student Affairs Dr. Tabetha Adkins addressed WCU’s current housing issue. Both Fiorentino and Adkins recognized that housing has been an ongoing issue in West Chester. However, Adkins stated that “nationally, we are seeing that students are wanting to live on campuses more than ever before.” She suspects this is because of rent inflation and because students are anxious to leave their homes after isolating with parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adkins also stated that “most of the students who applied for housing prior to the deadline were accommodated.” Students who were waitlisted and then did not receive housing were provided a one-time housing grant. She suggests students “really plan ahead this year and apply for housing early.”
Fiorentino addressed the fact that he has been continually working on providing new housing for students for many years.“If we’re going to add new housing we have to go through zoning processes with the municipalities that we live within… Frankly, the municipalities have not been open minded to adding additional housing for students.” He noted that his team is currently working on creating an overlay district to streamline zoning and is looking at where to put a new residence hall. He admitted this will take some time, “we can’t immediately produce more housing, we have to go through processes.”
Several questions were asked during the open discussion, including the missing furniture in traditional housing. “At traditional housing, new furniture will be arriving as early as this week.” stated Adkins.
A student also asked why the Adobe software is not available to load onto personal computers through the university’s subscription, and the short answer was “it would be too expensive.”
Adobe is mainly used for Photoshop, Lightroom and a few other tools, but the significance here is that some students utilize these applications for school projects or certain clubs. Photography Club, for instance, occasionally utilizes either Photoshop or Lightroom to clean up the photos they take.
This year’s town hall was strikingly different from town halls held in the past two years which focused largely on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the effects of the pandemic are still present, student questions mainly centered around WCU’s ongoing problems in housing and dining services.
Sean Wattman is a second-year psychology major with a minor in journalism. SW970700@wcupa.edu
Emma Hogan is a third-year English major with a minor in journalism. EH9543902wcupa.edu