Students, faculty members, and administrators alike gathered to discuss the issues facing Seton Hall University at the Student Government Association (SGA)’s annual ‘Town Hall’ meeting on Monday, Oct. 28.
The town hall is held so that students can express their concerns and wishes to the administration of the school in a public, formalized setting.
Issues of affordability, accessibility, and diversity were frequently brought up by students and discussed by faculty.
Many students attended with specific issues in mind. One such student was freshman diplomacy major, Patrick Condon.
“I would like to see [attendees] talk about student involvement outside of the SGA,” Condon said. “With minority groups specifically, there could be more representation and inclusivity on campus.”
Many attendees echoed this sentiment, with many questions being asked about inclusivity for minorities and international students.
One student in the audience asked if the administration would be willing to broaden out the university’s religion classes to include more focus on other religions.
An administrator from the College of Arts and Sciences responded that he would talk to the department of religion about more diverse programs, but added that there are courses on Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism offered at the university.
Dean Dierdre Yates of the College of Communication and the Arts added that her college included the Institute for Communication and Religion, with the purpose of creating diverse interfaith dialogue.
Freshman political science major, Tim Dziekan had other topics in mind.
“I want to see the wifi on campus work,” Dziekan said. “I also want to see health services not be closed during important times like the weekend.”
The meeting included lengthy discussions of wheelchair accessibility at Mooney Hall.
One student explained that he felt that the estimated price tag of installing an elevator in Mooney Hall would be well worth the investment.
Various administrators expressed sympathy for students with disabilities, and promised that the issue was of great concern to them.
Students also expressed concern over the rising costs of tuition, asking about the possibility of a tuition freeze, which fixes tuition for students at the level students paid their freshman year, meaning any increases in tuition do not affect them.
Though one administrator would describe tuition freezes as “a nightmare”, others said that it is a reasonable option that should be considered.
Ezequiel Meyers, SGA Senator and chair of the SGA’s public relations subcommittee, felt that the event was a success.
“I think it went really well,” Meyers said. “We had a lot of good questions that were asked by the students, as well as a lot of good answers that were given by the administration.” Deans or associate deans from the Colleges of Diplomacy and International Relations, Communication and the Arts, Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, and Business attended the meeting.
Other prominent figures included the Interim Provost, the Vice President of Student Services, and representatives from Gourmet Dining Services.
According to Meyers, about half the executive cabinet attended the event, a milestone which had no other town hall had met in the past. This helped reinforce the importance of the problems students discussed.
“We’ve already started a lot of these conversations, but it’s always good to remind them, and
make sure the administration understands how pressing these issues are,” Meyers said.
Communication and the Arts Senator, Priscilla Febus, agreed.
“Students were really engaged and I loved it,” Febus said. “They had some great questions to ask that the administration and higher-ups really needed to hear.”
Ezequiel Meyers felt that as a senator, hearing the ideas of the students was very helpful.
“It just reinforced a lot of the ideas that we had, making sure we had the backing of the student body,” Meyers said.
Dan O’Connor can be reached at email@example.com.