Town hall with administration has low turnout

By Leanne Vastbinder, Opinions and Online Editor

Apart from Student Government Association representatives, three students attended the town hall meeting with Administration at 2 p.m on Monday.

President Noreen Carrocci, Officer-In-Charge Teresa Hall Bartels, Vice President J.V. Johnston, Vice President for Finance and Administration Jennifer Gantz, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly McDowall Long sat down with students and staff to answer questions about the university and its future.

Emily Larkin, president of SGA, facilitated the Q&A discussion between administrators and meeting attendees.

Sophomore Kayla Garvert, vice president of SGA, said she was disappointed in the lack of student attendance of the meeting.

“We had the admissions team, a couple other staff members, a couple representatives of SGA, and then maybe three additional students,” Garvert said. “We were under the impression that scheduling it for 2 p.m. would allow for more people to come, so when less people came I was a little surprised.”

Bartels answered a question regarding the future of the music program, in light of the recent rumors that the Board approved a proposal to cut all funding for the music program.

“We have five students getting a minor in music. From a financial standpoint, it seemed like it might make some sense not to invest as much in something like that as we might need to in other programs,” Bartels said.

During the Board meeting however, Bartels said, the Board looked at the proposal regarding music and realized that the plan would effectively eliminate music. Bartels said that ending the music program was never the Board’s intent.

“The recommendation was changed to direct the administration to examine options for controlling expenses in the fine arts program,” Bartels said.

The administration was also asked about the future of the philosophy and theology programs.

“What may be changing is taking the philosophy department and putting it under a different dean. Truly what we’re talking about is moving supervisors at this point in time,” Long said.

The theology program, Long said, has 37 degree-seeking students, almost all of whom are not on the main campus.

“Is it best to have the only faculty member serving that program here where there’s zero students? I think that’s something that we should have the flexibility to consider,” Long said.

Overall, Long said, it’s highly unlikely that both programs will go away.

“In the case of philosophy, we currently offer two distinct majors. Do we need two of the same or very similar, or could we collapse them into one? Those are very reasonable considerations for us to be thinking about but we are not considering removing those from our curriculum, that is not going to happen,” Long said.

The meeting got a little contentious at the end when admissions counselor, Paola Nuñez,

asked the administrators what they were personally doing to be informed about diversity and inclusion within the university “from the top down.”

Long responded by saying the administration was doing the best it could, and referenced the diversity committee the administration had formed as part of the university’s three-year strategic plan.

“We simply cannot do it all. “ Long said. “We have to work with people who are active, engaged learners who share with us so that we can learn from their experiences and make changes accordingly. If you’re wondering, do we have, what we would call ‘professional development resources,’ I have been here three years, and have not received any professional development resources.”

PHOTO: Leanne Vastbinder, Opinions and Online Editor