Campus Talk Draws Big Student Crowd


Rachael McKriger

Geraldine M. Jones, president, Cal U, takes center stage at the Campus Talk in the Natali Performance Center.

Mari Boyle, Staff Writer

Those who attended the Campus Talk in hopes to see tensions running high, drama, and conflict were surely disappointed. The Campus Talk, held on April 12 in the Performance Center, is one of the few times a semester where the students may ask questions of their university President. This Campus Talk in particular was especially crowded likely due to the fact that the past Interim President Geraldine Jones had been selected to be the Cal U’s new university President. This decision received a lot of dissatisfaction from students as seen on social media but also garnered some support for Jones as well.

The Campus Talk began with an intro from the Student Government President, Brendan Garay, as he introduced President Jones for the last time as he is not running for Student Government President again. President Jones then honored to students with an award honoring them for their exemplary military service. Rachel Hogue and Seth Ellison were the students that received this honor, accepting the President’s Patriotic Service Medallion award to huge applause. President Jones then began asking questions and the audience prepared themselves in anticipation to see what questions would arise. However, the Campus Talk lacked the dramatic aspect and was full of substantive and pragmatic questions to which President Jones did her best to answer.

One student asked what would be done to improve life off campus. As many students are aware, there is not a large variety of activities students can involve themselves with outside of campus. The student brought up the fact that this may lead more students to drink and use drugs. President Jones responded that she meets with borough officials once a month to think of “small victories” and activities that can be added throughout the town. President Jones also commented that the borough had put together a strategic plan that will not be visible immediately but may include more parks and businesses. She hopes to see less housing and more businesses, restaurants, and shopping areas. The next student asked if President Jones plans to make herself more accessible to students now that she is the permanent president. President Jones responded to this with a laugh and words that were not quite clear. She continued on to say that she attends athletic events, festivals throughout the town, conferences that occur on campus, and has dinner at the food court. President Jones said that you will always see her out and about but work keeps her inside her office but she truly enjoys getting out and meeting students. While it seems by her answer she believes she is accessible enough currently, President Jones said that if you do not see her then she is working to make the lives better for students.

Another student asked what President Jones’ plans were to increase enrollment, a question President Jones gets quite often. President Jones referred to the firm she hired, Ruffalo Noel Levitz, to work with the university to increase enrollment. Though, what the actual firm intends to do is not clear. President Jones also brought up creating new academic programs and majors that will attract more students. She hopes that students will have a good experience here at Cal U and share that experience with friends in the hopes to bring more students to Cal. She encourages anyone with ideas to share them with their Student Government President, Brendan Garay. Another student asked about the Journalism Departments lack of a new professor. The student said that while the current professors are excellent, there are very few of them which means they receive a heavy load of the work and students receive few perspectives on journalism. President Jones said that as faculty retires or leave, administration has to consider if the major is in high demand. The dean of the department is then responsible for requesting a new hire but until then it is not in her hands.

The last part of the Campus Talk included questions on the food service, the Megatronics major, the Athletic Department, and the transportation infrastructure around campus to which President Jones generally responded that she will do her best to investigate and improve all plights. When students had no more questions, President Jones concluded the Campus Talk and the students that were there only in the interest to see a spectacle left dissatisfied.