The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Administrators hear students’ concerns

Students voiced concerns and inquiries at the annual Town Hall meeting April 16, where University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. and other officials listened to and answered questions from students.

Questions ranged from facility problems, housing and academic concerns. Several students inquired about space for performing organizations.

Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson, vice president of Student Affairs, fielded most questions on space, explaining how the department was attempting to arrange organization space.

In the past, Hutchinson said organization leaders and administrators would request preferred rooms, regardless of the size of the meetings. Because of this, a room that fits 40 people might only be used for a meeting of 15, she said.

The vice president said Student Affairs was working on ways to balance this out.

A speed bump for performing organizations was the addition of more groups that needed practice space.

A film and television student requested that consideration be made for new equipment. Assistant Dean for the College of Professional Studies Fr. Michael Cummins, said it was something CPS was monitoring practically all the time. “We’re constantly looking at that,” he said.

Fr. Harrington went on to say that he and Martha Hirst, vice-president for Finance and Administration, had approved expenditure to increase spending on needed equipment. Harrington joked that he did not have the number on hand, but the number was significant.

“If I remembered the number, I’d tell you but it’s a lot,” he said, with a laughing response from the room.

A progress report was also presented on what changes SGI and the University had made based on prior town hall meetings.

Since last year, SGI announced, the two-day common hour had returned, as well as finals week.

Several quiet areas have been allocated to help students study during this time, representatives said, including permanent quiet areas.

Provost Dr. Julia Upton and the deans of all the colleges were not present, as a University Senate meeting was held at the same time, Hutchinson told the room.

In  one  of  the last major announcements, Organizations Committee Chair Mark Benevitez announced that executive board leaders interested in a stipend for next year had to attend a meeting on either April 18 or April 23 in The D’Angelo Center 206 at 12 p.m.

Fr. Harrington gave closing remarks where he complimented students for coming out and actively voicing things that bothered them.

“I want to thank you for your honesty, your presence and sharing your concerns with us,” he said.

He emphasized that students did not have to wait until the annual event to voice concerns. He reminded the room that he meets with the SGI Executive board once a month, and encouraged they take any problems they had to the right channel.

“I meet with the Student Government executive board every month,” he said. “Issues you may have don’t have to wait until this meeting.”

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