The Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a virtual student forum on Tuesday for students to voice their concerns about the fall 2020 semester.
The student forum was held via Microsoft Teams and students were able to anonymously ask questions. The forum was broken into four sections each covering a different area of concerns regarding the fall semester.
The sections were tuition and finances, hosted by SGA treasurer Ron Babiak; housing hosted by diplomacy senator Chase Cohen; student services, hosted by Arts and Science senator Carolyn Murray; and academics, hosted by SGA vice president Charles McGarry. SGA President Julia Nicolls moderated the event and gave opening and closing remarks.
One question was asked repeatedly: When will students know whether they will be back on campus for the fall?
Though the SGA members said they were not sure yet and would not be able to give an answer, students voiced the reasons it is so important for them to get an answer soon.
“How should students living off campus proceed with putting deposits down and signing leases?” asked one student anonymously.
Multiple other students voiced a similar concern about how not knowing whether students will be back on campus is particularly difficult for students living off-campus.
Another student later brought up that last-minute decisions regarding whether or not students can move back could pose financial and logistical concerns for out of state students.
“Especially for out of state students I think last minute decisions are costly and difficult to accommodate for,” said one student during the forum. “Being across the country I rely on planes to get to Jersey which is expensive when we book last minute or you might have to cancel. Do you have an estimate when we will be told when or how the campus is opening? Also, if we are told last minute will out of state students be given leniency on move-in and attendance during the early weeks?”
Cohen gave a statement on the student forum that addressed some of these student concerns.
“One of the biggest concerns for students is what will housing look like in the fall both on campus and off campus,” Cohen said. “A lot of students are worried about having to pay for housing that they will not use if we are not on campus. Right now, we unfortunately do not know what fall semester will look like. I miss being on campus myself and I would rather have an in-person fall semester but for now Seton Hall will continue to follow CDC guidelines to ensure that all students and faculty are safe. Both the university and the student government will continue to communicate with students and do our best to answer all questions and concerns.”
Genevieve Krupchek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.