Students participate in Q and A with President Mary Papazian

Dylan Haviland – General Assignment Reporter 

In front of his peers and faculty members, Sahil Makhijani, sophomore and computer science brought up a question to President Mary Papazian.  Makhijani, also an active member in the computer science club, mentioned the small number of females in his department and was curious if there were scholarships offered to bring female students into the computer science department.

“It’s a great question and it really speaks to the importance of diversity in all areas and the creation of opportunity,” said Papazian.  “Clearly we do some good things around scholarships but it only begins to scratch the surface of what we need to do in supporting our students and enticing opportunity for students.”

Papazian said to Makhijani and the crowd that she will look into the scholarships he mentioned.

The Open Dialogue for Students with President Mary Papazian was hosted for students to address concerns and questions to the staff on recent events on campus.

The discussion is taking place in a time where the costs of new renovations to the Buley Library, the new science building and raised tuition are coming into reality.

“This is our education and we need to take advantage of it. We need to have our input heard by our faculties,” said Makhijani.  “It takes more than one student to get the word out, join student clubs and organizations or just get a group together to talk to a department chair to address the issues like this where you have students come from the entire campus to talk to the president directly.”

Papazian actively engaged students in discussion towards current topics on campus, providing the latest development on topics such as the 4.8 percent tuition increase that, according to Papazian, will become active next fall.

A student brought up scholarship opportunities to help manage the increased tuition.

“Our obligation to you is to look at what we are doing with everything and being as efficient as possible with all of our services and systems that they work well and we are not wasting any dollars,” said Papazian.

The president explained to the audience that students working towards graduating in four years can help battle a tuition debt.  Papazian stressed on students making the right choices towards their major, becoming involved on campus and building relations with alumni.

Papazian mentioned that there is still aspects of programs that may make it difficult to complete in four years.

“Some of it is that we just haven’t created a culture of expectation of a four-year degree,” said Papazian.  “That is something that we have to do collectively because the studies all show that the greatest level of tuition and loan debt happens after the fourth year.”

In addition to pushing towards the expectation of graduating in four years, the president continued on to state the benefits of alumni relationships.

“We are looking to create this network of alumni who are at various stages in their careers who can do many things for us, particularly our young professional alumni that are now out working maybe 10 years and at that time where they are still young enough to remember what it was like to be [students],” said Papazian.  “They are also far enough into their career where they have had success so their mentorship is invaluable.”

Members of the audience also included representatives in the Student Government Association.

“Rather than just talking to students about our problems it’s important to address them and bring them up to someone who can actually help us,” said Joseph Gentile, freshman and business, and representative at large for Student Government Association.


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