Robin Glynn – General Assignment Reporter –
Transfer students, basketball courts and a new recreation facility were some of the topics that SCSU President Mary Papazian talked about with students and faculty at the open dialogue she hosted on Nov. 5.
Papazian met with students to answer their questions and discuss their concerns in the Adanti Student Center.
The event also included some of the President’s cabinet members, James E. Blake, executive vice president, and Peter Troiano, interim vice president for Student and University Affairs, who helped in answering some of the students’ questions and concerns.
“It is my interest to spend some time with the students,” said Papazian. “You experience this university from a perspective that is a lot different from how the faculty and staff experience it. You are really the reason we are here.”
Papazian said that she wanted the event to be about the students and quickly started with whatever questions students had.
Students like Jasmine Wilborne had their questions answered.
The best way to get to know her is to be in her presence and see who she is,” said Wilborne, an English major.
Wilborne said that the event is an important way in which students can voice their concerns.
“If you don’t share your voice, you don’t have the opportunity to bring your voice to those who can change things,” said Wilborne.
Papazian answered questions about the process for transfers to attend Southern.
“Institutions like ours that have a significant transfer population, we do want to think about what that process is,” said Papazian. “It is not that same experience that freshmen have.”
Papazian said that transfer students are thrown more quickly into deciding a major than freshmen because some credits transfer and some credits do not.
“There is certain pressure for transfer students to settle in more quickly,” said Papazian.
Erin McGuckin, president of the Student Government Association, said that students have come to them about recreation facilities. McGuckin asked Papazian if there are any plans in place to try to bring a facility to campus.
Papazian said that when she first got to Southern, she noticed there was not a recreation center.
“I promised them that we would put in a couple of basketball courts outside the residence halls,” said Papazian.
According to Blake, Southern is looking into a few appropriate areas to put the basketball courts.
“It is something that we are hoping to get done,” said Blake.
Blake and Papazian said that they hope to have something by spring. Papazian also said it is easier to put in half courts than full courts because of space.
“We are going to try and do full,” said Papazian. “If it ends up that we just can’t make it work, we will put in half courts. But just know that we tried to do full.”
Papazian said that during her time at Southern, she has seen how many students go home on the weekends.
“I was struck by how many of you go home on weekends,” said Papazian. “I didn’t know at the time that the field house was closed on weekends.”
Papazian said that Southern is in the process of designing a new recreation facility and the hope is to put it near the residence halls
Wilborne thinks the open dialogue event was important, but it is also important to acknowledge the good that has been accomplished.
“It is important to reinforce what has been done and the open dialogue provides space to do that,” said Wilborne.
Crystal Gray, a liberal studies major, said she believes the open dialogue is another way to hear the students, but there are other ways for the president to hear what students have to says.
“I feel an open door policy would be better,” said Gray, “this way students would feel more comfortable to go to her to voice their thoughts.”