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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Five takeaways from SGA’s State of the QUnion

A recap and overview of Quinnipiac Student Government Association’s annual State of the QUnion address, held on Wednesday Feb. 21.

The Quinnipiac University Student Government Association hosted its annual State of the QUnion address on Feb. 21, allowing students to ask administrators about prevalent issues affecting the student body. 

The panel featured five administrators: President Judy Olian; Provost Debra Liebowitz; Tom Ellett, chief experience officer; David Fryson, interim vice president for equity and inclusion and Sal Filardi, vice president for facilities and capital planning.

These were the main topics discussed: 


Several students — many of whom spoke on behalf of the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim community — expressed concerns about The Chronicle’s publication of an opinion piece titled “A cease-fire in Gaza will cause more harm than good.”

“I think it is totally unacceptable for an article to be published, as it is very biased,” a sophomore political science student said. “With the safety concerns occurring in other universities and the hate crimes that are currently taking place all over America, it does not make us Muslims feel safe.”

Although Olian and Ellett voiced their understanding for students’ feelings toward the conflict, they highlighted that opinion pieces represent the opinion of the writer, not of the organization. 

“We encourage our students as journalists to be responsible journalists, accurate journalists — to cover the news as unbiased,” Olian said. “Opinion pieces are opinion pieces, and we do not have any way to censor The Quinnipiac Chronicle, Q30 or any other outlets.”

Olian emphasized the university’s respect for free press on campus and encouraged students to express their opinions so long as their expression does not break the university’s code of conduct.  

“The free press can be inciting or hateful in the expression of their opinions on campus, but we have a code of conduct, and we would potentially bring it forward if that’s what it was,” Olian said. “The freedom of expression is very broad and powerful in this country.”

The last speaker asked the panelists to reconsider their stances on the The Chronicle article.

“We all have an individual responsibility to handle conversations like this carefully while respecting the opinions of others,” a first-year international business student said. 

A student said that, when the article was initially published, it did not include statistics about Palestinian casualties or information about the history of cease-fire. The student also argued that the article misled readers to believe only one side of the story. 

With backlash coming from current students, alumni and a piece published in the University of New Haven’s student-run newspaper, The Charger Bulletin, some students claimed that The Chronicle’s publication of the Feb. 14 opinion piece is damaging the reputation of the university. 

“I recognize that sometimes what is published in those outlets, what is expressed through those outlets has a bearing on the status of the institution,” Olian said.

The views expressed in The Chronicle’s opinion section are those of the respective authors. They do not reflect the views of The Chronicle as an organization. 

Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian answers student questions at the Student Government Association’s annual State of the QUnion event.
(Jack Muscatello)


In November 2023, Public Safety investigated two incidents in which someone scratched swastikas into the mail lockers on the York Hill Campus. Amid a rise in on-campus hate crimes across the country, students inquired about measures being taken to ensure the safety of Arab and Jewish students. 

Students also expressed safety concerns about the campus’s openness, ranging from trespassers that are not affiliated with Quinnipiac interacting with students to the security of the gates. Some students said they had been granted allowed access to campus by holding up cards for identification other than their QCard.

Olian noted that the university has tried to increase security measures without violating students’ privacy, citing increases in the Department of Public Safety’s presence, additional cameras and anonymous tip lines. 

“We want to make sure that everybody feels comfortable, in who they are, what surrounds them and the protections they have,” Olian said.

Reiterating that student safety is the department’s first priority, Tony Reyes, chief of public safety, said that public safety escorts are available 24/7.

“I also recognize that there could be a disconnect between how safe you are and how safe you feel,” Reyes acknowledged. “That is equally important and that we have to work just as hard to make you feel as safe as you are.”

Ellett spoke about the RAVE Guardian, a mobile safety app that provides emergency assistance, while Fryson shared resources available to students under Title IX.

“If anyone feels that they’ve ever encountered any type of bias, in addition to (contacting) public safety, you can also report through the Title IX office in a confidential way and we’ll make sure that any incidents on campus will be investigated,” Fryson said. 


Students also raised questions about the retention of students and faculty of color and first-generation students. Within the last 12 months, there has been a turnover of diversity, equity and inclusion university officials — with the most recent official to leave being Sarah Hellyar, former interim Title IX coordinator, on the second day of the spring 2024 semester. 

“I will acknowledge that we are in a rebuild,” Olian said, adding that the university has recently created several positions that are strictly focused on “inclusive excellence.” 

Olian said that the officials from the former Department of Cultural and Global Engagement — which has since been restructured as the Office of Inclusive Excellence — had different reasons for leaving, including better opportunities. 

“It’s not going to be an easy turnaround,” Fryson said. “It is one that we are intentional in making sure that in terms of making sure that faculty, staff and students that are here not only have a sense of belonging but also have a sense of contact.”

Fryson mentioned strategies being implemented, but did not elaborate on specifics.

“These are not quick fixes, but they are long-term strategies to make sure that we are not only diverse, we are also an inclusive campus,” Fryson said. 


The university’s student employment system prioritizes students with federal work-study, meaning Quinnipiac has experienced a decline in non-aid job opportunities for students without work-study grants. Kay Owalbi, the vice president of SGA and the event’s moderator, asked Ellett about the university’s plans, if any, to provide better job offerings on campus for students without aid. 

Ellett emphasized that because the university receives federal funding and doles out financial aid, Quinnipiac is no different than any other university in the country by prioritizing federal work-study positions. 

However, he noted that non-work study students are prioritized for technical positions and those requiring special skills.

“One of the things that we’ve been focused on is to look at our partners to see how they can help provide further opportunities for students,” Ellett said. 

Ellett cited the bookstore, student-led dining operations and the university’s partnership with Hartford HealthCare as potential opportunities for students.

“When I got here there weren’t any positions in the dining operation,” Ellett said. “Today we have 124 students employed and we’re looking to raise it to at least 150-160.”

Students can contact the university’s career services office to learn more about student employment opportunities. 


Last year, the construction to build the tennis courts eliminated 145 student parking spaces in the North Lot — reducing parking in that lot by 20%. 

Students still face challenges with parking and raised concerns about miscommunications between One Stop and Public Safety. Some students said they have parked in designated lots — even checking with Public Safety officials first — only to be ticketed or called to move their vehicles.

Ellett explained that the policies and procedures for parking were created by a committee within One Stop that works closely with SGA. 

“Those (recommendations) were created by students, given to the administration and we support those policies,” Ellett said, encouraging students to voice their concerns to One Stop.

CORRECTION 2/28: An earlier version of this story misquoted Olian’s statement on the potential overlap between the freedom of the press and the university’s code of conduct.

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