Dear President John Lahey,
How have you been? I hope you have been feeling well because I haven’t seen you on campus since last April. Your office is in the library and I spend a fair amount of time there, but I have never seen you go in and out of that hall. I’ve never seen you walking across the Quad or eating in the cafe. I’ve never seen you interact much with students, besides at the Big Event or at the occasional sports game.
And I don’t understand why. Students love to see you. Students want to see you.
Instead, many feel like there is no way for us to get in touch with you.
The university used to hold an event called the State of the QUnion. It was probably one of the best ideas this university has ever had because it gave students the chance to hear what administrators like you and Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson had to say about Quinnipiac and its future.
I remember you saying at the last State of the QUnion in January 2013 how much you liked the event. You said Student Affairs gets to talk to students all the time, but you don’t get to.
“I do think these kinds of forums are important because there aren’t as many opportunities for the rest of us [outside of Student Affairs] to have more direct contact with students,” you said.
But last year’s State of the QUnion was cancelled.
Former Student Government Association President Matt Desilets said it was because you were busy, travelling to talk to potential donors for the university. He said there would be a State of the QUnion this fall. But there was no State of the QUnion last semester.
This makes me very nervous because it seems to mean either of these two things.
1. The university is in dire need of money. If you were so busy meeting with potential donors–so busy that you could not sit down with students for a couple hours–then the university must really be strapped for cash. OR 2. You no longer see talking to students as a priority.
Both of these options don’t make me feel very good about this university.
I know a large part of your job is fundraising for the school, but students pay a lot of money to go here and deserve to hear directly from you what you see as the university’s future. Many students and professors are scared right now about what is going on here.
In May 2014, several professors were laid off to “make reductions in areas where enrollment has been declining,” according to Vice President of Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell.
The College of Arts and Sciences had to cut many classes for this semester because it no longer had the money to hold them. This means class sizes are going up in courses like EN 101 and EN 102, and some professors say this doesn’t help students learn.
I go to this school to get a good education. But if professors are being laid off and classes are being cut, what is the point of going to this university? If this happened my freshman year, I don’t know if I would have stayed a Bobcat.
And we as a student body can’t even talk to you about it because we don’t see you around.
So this semester, please make a bigger effort to walk around campus. Pass through the Student Center around lunchtime and say hello to students. Attend more campus events. If organizations could say you were going to come to their event, I bet this would increase student involvement.
This will not bring more money into the university if it’s having financial problems, but it will make the community feel a little better.