Photo by SGA Instagam
This past Tuesday on Feb.28, Student Government Association (SGA) hosted their bi-annual Town Hall at 7:15 p.m. in Sykes Theater in conjunction with the Council of Organizations. Five administration members of the President’s Cabinet joined us for this event, including President Fiorentino, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Osgood, Interim VP for Student Affairs Dr. Adkins, VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Robinson, and VP for Finance and Administration Mr. Murphy. SGA President, Catherine Young, moderated the event asking questions submitted in advance to the panel.
The purpose of this student-led event is to raise awareness to concerns on campus and receive information from administration. SGA received over 70 questions submitted in advance, ranging from academic affairs and dining to public safety and housing. With the influx of housing questions submitted, these questions were sectioned to the end. It’s important to note that many questions had been combined in order to ask as many before ending at 8:30 p.m.
Some of the first questions brought to the cabinet’s attention were in regards to parking and public safety issues surrounding commuters and students on campus. One of them was about the Student Organization Event being held on campus and the cost for Public Safety being there, even without being requested there. One of the officers responded by explaining that the students’ safety is their number one priority and have let them know that they don’t want the cost of them being there to get in the way of these clubs hosting their events. One of the cabinet members also remarked that there’s a short number of public safety officers on campus. Not only that, but they are getting overtime by being at these student events at night. Other questions had been in regards to limited parking spaces for commuters and the fire alarms being set in the south campus apartments, in which according to the officer that was speaking for public safety, stated that they would try to work with Residence Life to make programs in regards to this for south campus residents.
Another issue that was brought to the cabinet’s attention was in regards to the updates on the Schmucker name change. If you don’t know, there was a petition to change the name of the Schmucker Science Building back in the Fall. When the cabinet was asked about an update regarding the Schmucker name on the Schmucker Science Center, President Fiorentino shared that the Council of Trustees recently changed policies regarding building names. A committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni is currently working to give President Fiorentino a recommendation to be taken to the Council of Trustees by the end of the spring or summer. Administration also mentioned how this is a complex issue and is being taken very seriously.
Following these questions, the conversation moved to topics about housing. President Fiorentino started this section with a 10 minute dialect on why it’s been very difficult to mediate the issue, along with the process of creating more housing for students. He also announced that they are thinking of creating a new Residence Hall for traditional housing sometime in the future. He explained that he understood the frustration students were having in regards to housing, as well as that there are a lot of issues and misinformation rumored around and being talked about. He explained further about why USH housing couldn’t just simply be removed as the school is currently carrying more than $200 million dollars of debt from their deal with USH. He also said that he was fully aware of what other PASSHE schools are doing with their private housing, however it would cost the school $200 million plus interest in order to obtain back the buildings and turn them into traditional and WCU Owned Housing. Further questions in regards to housing had also surfaced, such as a possible stipend for students, other halls that could be used instead to store bedrooms, such as Lawrence and Wayne Hall. Although they do not have a current plan in motion to mediate the situation short term, as of right now, they are working diligently and hoping to find a solution without giving false hope to students.
SGA would like to thank everyone that participated and showed up to the Town Hall event. We would also like to thank Student Leadership and Involvement with supporting and helping us with setting up this event. Student Government meets on Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. in Sykes Room 115. The next meeting will be held on March 7.
By Jasmine Stewart and Annie Wineka
Jasmine Stewart is a second-year Statistics major and Public Relations Officer for SGA. email@example.com