By: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor
For those of you who did not see the posters and advertisements, Newman University put on a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday where President Kathleen Jagger and her cabinet answered questions in front of a room full of students. The event, which came right on the heels of Newman announcing the elimination of eight majors and layoffs of 10 faculty members as part of a “strategic realignment,” was open to everyone. Members of Newman’s Student Government Association – and I am one – were required to attend, and at all Town Hall meetings, our role is to gather the questions that the cabinet will answer.
This week’s meeting was interesting because it actually included time for a live Q&A session. Usually at these meetings, cabinet members only answer questions that have been submitted weeks in advance so they have time to prepare answers. This has always been my struggle with Town Hall meetings because I would like to see administrators answer questions on the fly without having had time to think about the right thing to say. We want real answers, not rehearsed statements.
This time, though, the cabinet members did find themselves in the hot seat a few times, and I have to say that I was impressed by their ability to handle the pressure. They gave good answers on some topics even if they did beat around the bush on others. They even stayed calm when students in the back of the room asked the same questions multiple times or started getting angry.
I think that the changes the cabinet is wanting to make will benefit the school. Their explanations made sense, and I was happy to learn they plan to start raising money to turf the athletic fields in the next year or two. I also understand the need to cut programs that few students are enrolled in. They even talked about finding new ways for students to eat during non caf hours and about their plans for Newman’s new coffee shop.
The turf will be good because through better facilities, Newman will get better athletes. As they get better athletes, the sports will improve. This will bring large amounts of recognition to the school and make it more desirable for students to attend. Think about it: All the big power house schools are always thought of for athletics, not because they have a fantastic landscape architecture program.
Secondly, the cabinet better explained Newman’s plan to cut eight undergraduate majors. While it is never fun to see departments and faculty go, there really is no point in keeping majors that only a handful of students are enrolled in. Newman might as well put its resources toward majors that students want.
Through it all, the cabinet members shared one main idea: This is a time of change for Newman University. All of the questions asked at the meeting, good or bad, were based around change. Why did the school change? Why didn't the school change? What is the school going to do to change? Yet people at the meeting still got angry and were unhappy with the changes.
But I say that change is part of basic human nature and happens every day. Eventually, our little bubbles need to be popped and we have to touch some grass.
Walt Disney once said, “Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Change is inevitable so why not embrace the change, learn from the change and find the positives that every change brings?
Remember, life doesn't start after death. Life starts after birth. So why not start living now?
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash