The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Key takeaways from CSG Town Hall

Kyle Ferreira
Dr. Lisa Lambert answers a question beside other Town Hall panelists and moderator LJ Varley ’27, the class of ’27 secretary.

Chatham Student Government held a Town Hall event on March 2, giving students the opportunity to ask a mix of in-person questions, livestream comments and pre-asked questions directly to selected members of faculty, staff and administration. The conversation mainly centered around the topics of faculty unionization, meal plan options and transparency. 

The panelists from the event included President Rhonda Phillips, Chatham Faculty United Representative Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman, Vice President of Athletics and Recreation Leonard Trevino, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Lisa Lambert, Chief of Police Donna Grossi, Vice President for Enrollment Management Amy Becher and Parkhurst Food Services Director Alex Iracheta. 

Here’s a recap of some parts of the Q&A: 

 1. How much is the legal representation costing the University for the NLRB hearings? 

“I can’t comment on specifics because there is a hearing in progress now,” President Phillips said.

 2. Why was Chatham Faculty United not voluntarily recognized by the University? 

“We responded to the American Federation of Teachers’ request for recognizing a Union by seeking a fair hearing with the National Labor Relations Board,” President Phillips said. 

          Follow-up question: why did the University choose a law firm that has experience with discriminatory cases? 

“Our legal firm, Duane Morris, has been with Chatham for almost 30 years,” President Phillips said. “We’ve used them in a variety of contexts for legal counsel, and so that’s who we’ve gone with them.” 

          Follow-up question: why hasn’t the school switched law firms? 

“I’m not aware of other issues that they’ve been involved in,” President Phillips said. “I don’t know if Chatham has been involved with those issues in the prior past, but I do know we’ve already gone ahead with them, they’re already our counsel and they know us.” 

3. What role do adjunct professors play in the ongoing unionization effort?

Dr. Sweet-Cushman responded that “our needs as full-time faculty are distinct from the needs of adjunct faculty and likely would bargain separately from us in a union situation anyway.”

4. Is there any correlation between the increase in executive administrative salary across other college campuses and increased tuition for students and decreased salaries for faculty? 

“We have done away with several of the top executive positions and are not rehiring some of those. And we also know that our executive team took a 10% salary cut, the largest of any group on campus,” President Phillips said. “So you may be seeing data from past salaries, but those people are no longer with us at Chatham.” 

5. How do you think meal plan changes are going to help with food scarcity and financial stability? 

Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Chris Purcell said of incoming students’ meal plans: “The ability to have all incoming students in the Unlimited meal plan actually allows us to decrease the price of the 21 meal plan.”

“We do not think it’s in the best interests of students to have one meal a week,” Dr. Purcell said. “That meal plan was not a responsible meal plan. We believe students should have to opt-in to have at least four meals a week. We think that’s justifiable.” 


Both Executive Vice President Aidan Bobik ‘24 and Vice President of Student Communications Jada Jenkins ‘26 felt that the event was well-attended and a success. “I think [Town Hall], you know, strongly encouraged that dialogue and communication between students and CSG, between faculty, between administrators,” Bobik said. “I think it was a really successful event.” 

CSG is required by its constitution to hold one Town Hall a semester. Jenkins added that CSG hopes to invite back the administration, faculty and staff panelists next fall to provide students with more opportunities to speak to them directly. 

If students still have questions they would like to have answered following the event, they can reach out to CSG via Jenkin’s Chatham email at [email protected], the CSG email at [email protected] or message the CSG Instagram @chathamstudentgovernment.

To watch the recording of the Town Hall, click here.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Bella White
Bella White, News Editor
Bella White ‘27 is a first year at Chatham studying Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing. Originally from north of Pittsburgh, Bella decided to come to Chatham to build on her passion for writing. Bella is a contributing writer for the Communiqué, where they primarily focus on news, lifestyle and the Chatham Student Government. In her free time, Bella enjoys conquering their To Be Read list, seeing musicals, learning new languages and taking naps. They can usually be found in a library or a bookstore with a good iced coffee. For inquiries about her work, Bella can be best reached at [email protected] or via Instagram
Kyle Ferreira
Kyle Ferreira, Contributing Writer
Kyle Ferreira 25' is a Media Arts major with a concentration in photography. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Kyle chose Chatham because it is a bastion of tranquility and natural beauty in the heart of the city, and because the size of the University lends itself to a more personal experience of higher education. An avid photographer, Kyle believes in the power of visual storytelling for documentary and journalistic endeavors. Kyle seeks to incorporate compelling visuals with the Communique's written stories. He considers photography and the visual arts to be an essential tool for capturing the attention of an audience and engaging them with stories. In his free time, Kyle enjoys exploring the city or hiking in the wilderness with his camera as his guide. His passion for photography motivates Kyle to perfect his craft, for there is always more to learn and new places to see.

Comments (0)

All Communiqué Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *