SGA to host faculty town hall

Written By Alexis Bonifate, SGA Beat Writer

As the Student Government Association (SGA) gears up for the elections for the 2021-2022 academic year, the legislative body is in the process of hosting town hall sessions to address student concerns regarding the recent faculty contract non-renewals decisions and transparency with the administration.

Last week, a town hall was hosted with the administration. SGA President McDermott commented that the transparency in the situation with the 17 faculty non-renewals has been “disappointing.” This position was reflected in the town hall as well, according to McDermott.

“From the start, they were kind of rushing to the questions, giving us non-answers or limited answers,” McDermott said.

On Monday, March 29, at 2:40 p.m., in lieu of the SGA Legislative Body meeting, a town hall with the faculty will be hosted as an open forum for any and all students to voice their concerns. The town hall is scheduled to last till 4:20 p.m. and SGA members are expected to attend much like they would a normal legislative body meeting. 

Students are encouraged to send their questions in advance for this town hall so the faculty can be prepared to address them. Any participants who wish to speak will be limited to two minutes in order to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to speak or ask questions. More details on the town hall will be released to the student body via email during the week.

Vice President Bryce Hayzlett gave a report from a meeting he attended the prior week with the JED Committee. During the meeting, the committee went over the new mission statement for the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Here, they reinforce that the services from the office are not only available to the students, but also to all faculty and staff. 

In the second open floor session, Senator Shiv Waleacha opened up a further discussion on potential improvements to the Point Alert system. He brought up an incident that occurred over the previous weekend at the McDonald’s on Liberty Avenue where a juvenile was stabbed. There was no Point Alert sent out about this situation.

“I went there like an hour before, so I was pretty scared,” Waleacha said. “At least telling us that there is something happening over there, like I know we couldn’t get the whole picture at the moment, but something would have prevented someone from going over there.”

“The point is that if you get a Point Alert, there is an immediate issue that needs your immediate attention,” Michael Gieseke, Dean of Student Life and SGA advisor, said. 

Gieseke informed the legislative body that a meeting is still in the process of being set up between Point Park Public Safety and SGA as well as the administration to find a balance of what is deemed as an immediate issue that impacts the student body. The jurisdiction in which PPU Public Safety determines an immediate threat to the safety of its students is based on the Clery Act, which is a consumer protection law aimed at providing transparency around the crime policy on the campuses of universities across the nation. Within the boundaries set by this act and by the property of the university, the school must report anything that occurs. 

Senators Mady Piper and Grace Tyler Frank-Rempel are currently working on a project to give students more information about these situations that could be included on the university website in some capacity. 

Senator Jade Steele offered advice to stay informed about what happens around the city from sources outside of the university. 

“Pittsburgh Public Safety has a Twitter account and they also have accounts for every single one of their zones,” Steele said. 

She explained how you can turn on the post notifications to stay updated. The university and much of the Downtown Pittsburgh area are within Zone 2.

The ballots for the SGA Election will be available to submit starting at 12 a.m. on Monday, March 29. They will stay open for submission until Friday March 26 at midnight. Students will be able to vote for president, vice president and senators to represent them within their school of study.