Town hall focuses on race, mass shootings
University administrators, Student Government senators, members from the Multicultural Advisory Committee, club leaders and students gathered into the Chancellor Suite for a SGA Town Hall, on Monday.
Among the topics discussed topics were diversity adjustments to the College of Arts and Sciences curriculum, the University’s response to a potential active shooter and improving communication between organizations, the SGA and administrators.
The majority of the town hall’s program consisted of a question and answer dialogue between students and administrators.
According to SGA president Christina Simon, Gourmet Dining representatives will attend an open forum on Feb. 26.
Furthermore, junior English major and SGA Vice President Violet Reed, said part of the forum’s discussion will involve structural rearrangements in the cafeteria.
Additionally, Simon stated that the cafeteria will receive renovations this summer.
SGA secretary and political science major, Josie Martinez, instituted Club Council, a monthly program intended to facilitate open dialogue between SGA and organizations on campus.
After being elected to SGA, she recognized a need for clubs and the organization to meet and discuss events and initiatives together. The Club Council’s format is a product of the feedback she received and an attempt to solve club issues.
Martinez explained in an email that the Club Council’s purpose “is to ensure the e-boards of each organization are well informed and are given opportunities to meet with Clubs they may never have thought of co-sponsoring with.”
She hopes the feedback from the first Club Council, which happened last Friday, can improve organization relationships with each other. At the first meeting, approximately 30 students attended, according to Martinez. Moreover, the lecture-styled meeting last Friday discussed the importance of an organization’s finance management.
“With time it would be great to see increased collaborations between clubs because it will truly benefit the entire Seton Hall Community,” Martinez said.
Vice President of Student Services Dr. Tracy Gottlieb attended the town hall and expressed her satisfaction with the event via email. Her most crucial concern this semester is reaching the goal that all members of the Seton Hall community feel welcome.
Gottlieb shared that, at times, social media prevents effective communication between administrators and students.
“If the student is unhappy with the outcome, there are processes in place and a logical chain of command for the student to follow,” Gottlieb wrote in an email. “If a student emails me about a problem, I always try to help that student find the answer. Sometimes the student doesn’t like the answer, but I try to explain how we came to that answer.”
In addition, at the Town Hall, the topic of a possible active shooter on campus entered arose. According to Gottlieb, if an active shooter was present, the University’s siren would sound and, at the same time, Pirate Alert would notify students via their cell phones. Also, office phones would ring and computers connected to the SHU network would flash instructions.
“Last year, we put locks on all our classrooms to provide professors and students with an extra layer of security. In addition, we work with local law enforcement agencies to provide training in this area,” Gottlieb said.
Freshman diplomacy major and SGA senator Dominic Smith believed the Town Hall went well.
Smith thinks the biggest issue on campus includes student involvement. In particular, getting freshmen active.
Overall, the optimism displayed from administrators and students encouraged a hopefulness for future endeavors.
“The SGA brought together all of our deans, top administrators, faculty and students to have a conversation about our community,” Gottlieb said. “What could be better than that.”
Thomas Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.