Quinnipiac’s Student Government Association organized the first State of the QUnion address on Monday at Rocky Top Student Center. The event highlighted several ongoing projects and featured a Q&A between students and administrators.
“Opening that door between what goes on behind the scenes during the year and letting that all out to the students – letting them know our big accomplishments, our initiatives and our goals,” incoming Vice President of Student Concerns Vincent Bond said. Bond worked with outbound VP of Student Concerns Nicholas Rossetti to form the idea of State of the QUnion.
“Some of the big ticket items that I really wanted to bring to light, we just didn’t have time for,” Rossetti said, referring to specific literature in the student handbook on student rights and reporting sexual assaults. “This is the first year, so next year they’ll be able to plan everything better and probably attract a larger audience. At this time right now, I am flustered.”
Bond said SGA is working toward creating opportunities for moderated discussion between the student body and administration at the beginning and end of next year.
“I still think it’s great that administrators were willing to come out and were willing to talk to us, even if we didn’t get to cover the most hard-hitting topics,” Rossetti said.
“My hope is that people don’t look at our Student Government Association or the Student Awareness Committee and say that we haven’t been doing things, because indeed we have been.”
Outbound SGA President Louis Venturelli and incoming SGA President Ben Cloutier opened and closed the event with speeches, respectively, and newly appointed Medical School Dean Bruce Koeppen delivered a speech to update the student body on the Quinnipiac’s track to becoming an accredited medical school.
The administrative panel answered questions posed by SGA members and other students, and consisted of President John Lahey, Dean of Students Manuel Carreiro, Sr. Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs Mark Thompson, Chief of Security & Safety David Barger, and Sr. Vice President for Administration Rich Ferguson.
Medical School: First class targeted for 2013, school construction set for Jan. 2012
Bruce Koeppen, Quinnipiac’s future medical school dean, announced Quinnipiac will apply for preliminary accreditation in December with hopes of admitting the school’s first chartered class in August 2013. In order to begin recruiting in June 2012 for its first class, which Koeppen said will consist of 60 students, the school must obtain this accreditation.
“I am also going around and visiting hospitals in the region to identify a partner that will work with the medical school to develop the clinical training programs that we will need as well,” Koeppen said.
In the Q&A portion of the event, President John Lahey said construction for the medical school will begin in January 2012 and expects it to be completed by September of that year.
Koeppen said he hopes the school’s curriculum will accomplish three goals: training for primary care positions, training students for working as a team, and allowing students to choose a concentration to specialize in to prepare for their careers.
“I believe in 10-15 years, Quinnipiac University will be recognized across the country as a magnet institution for the training of health care professionals, particularly with a focus of primary care,” Koeppen said.
One student voiced a concern about not having enough places for students to find clinical training, but Koeppen quelled those concerns.
“As I am actually going around to various hospitals to talk about this, I am going around with Ed O’Connor, dean of the school of health sciences, to emphasize to these institutions that we want to come to them with a team of learners and not have medical students displacing PA students or nursing students,” Koeppen said. “The hospitals are actually very excited about that.”
Quinnipiac’s medical school will join Yale and University of Connecticut as the only medical schools in Connecticut. Prior to Koeppen’s appointment, he worked at UConn’s medical school for 20 years, and last month appointed two senior associate deans who also worked at UConn.
North Haven: No shuttles in store, yet
After reciting a letter from a health science student’s parent, Nicholas Rossetti, outbound vice president of student concerns, submitted a North Haven shuttle contingency plan for administration to consider implementing next year. The shuttle plan would consist of two shuttles at designated times throughout the day.
Rossetti emphasized these would not be continuous shuttles; they would only be making one trip at set times in the morning, afternoon and evening.
President John Lahey repeatedly cited the literature in the university’s health sciences program that indicates Quinnipiac is not responsible for providing transportation to clinical training sites.
Lahey called North Haven a “graduate campus,” and added, “it does not make sense to provide shuttle services to that campus.”
“To be honest, this is something that we have to keep fighting for into the next year,” Rossetti said. “I don’t believe an independent review will go on without us prompting it and us pushing it forward.”
Club Sports: Title IX prevents club sports
Dean of Students Manuel Carreiro and President John Lahey said club sports are in Quinnipiac’s future, but issues with Title IX is preventing them from implementing them next year.
“The number of students involved in club sports do not get counted in any way with respect to our intercollegiate sports, and that’s primarily what Title IX is about,” Lahey said. “However, this
lawsuit and court order we are under also relates to facilities and the resources that we are currently providing for our students.
“The biggest problem with club sports, as I look at it with respect to the Title IX issue, is that we are already very tight in terms of fields and facilities for our intercollegiate sports. I just want to make sure the institution is in full compliance with all Title IX requirements.”
Throughout the night, administrators touched on several ongoing projects.
York Hill will not be a “construction site” at all in September, Lahey said.
For 2013, Lahey mentioned plans of upgrading Burt Kahn Court into a multipurpose auditorium with seating similar to that in TD Bank Sports Center, but it would still be accessible as an open facility. Title IX is delaying these construction plans.
Sr. Vice President for Administration Richard Ferguson mentioned long-term plans of moving the School of Law to the North Haven campus after the medical school is built.
Ferguson expects the Alumni Hall renovations to be completed by Feb. 1, 2012.
Photo credit: Katie O’Brien