The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Graduate students meet to discuss the campus climate

Each month Chatham holds a Graduate Student Assembly meeting to provide graduate students a place to express their opinions about the climate on campus. This month’s meeting was held on Tuesday, November 4 in the Conover Room in the basement of Mellon Hall.

As students came in, Hallie Arena, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, who facilitates the meetings, encouraged them to help themselves to the food provided for the meeting. “l asked and they said no one should eat lasagna off of paper plates,” she said, joking about the fact that they were provided with real plates at the event.

By 5:00 p.m. the approximately 20 graduate students in attendance filled most of the seats at the table, and Arena called the meeting to order and invited Zauyah Waite, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, to speak.

The first order of business, as was evident from the itinerary projected on a screen at the front of the room, was the recent Undergraduate Town Hall meeting, and specifically whether or not the graduate students would be interested in having a Town Hall of their own.

After explaining what the Town Hall meeting is–an opportunity for the entire student body to come together and either publicly or anonymously express their opinions on Chatham’s shortcomings directly to the administration–she said that it would be a good opportunity for the graduate students to get to know their administrators, saying, “You all have more contact with me than you do with the rest of the Vice Presidents.”

“I think what we want to do is provide a better and more vigorous learning environment for graduate students,” Waite said. “You obviously have different needs than the undergraduates,” she continued, which is why it would be important to “have an intellectual conversation with administration.”

Arena added that she thought it would be beneficial, saying, “We just had one, and it seemed really successful for the undergraduate students.”

While the GSA students seemed open to the idea, some expressed concerns.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said accounting student Erin Wallace. “But I don’t know how forthcoming people would be.”

After a short discussion about the merits of a Town Hall meeting, note cards were passed out to the students, and on them they were asked to write what improvement Chatham could make in preparation for going coeducational.

“Are there things that this institution needs to be doing to handle the population that we have, as well as the incoming coeducational population?” Waite asked.

They were also asked to write down ideas regarding more graduate students activities.

“What is it that can bring graduate students together across majors?” Waite added.

This prompted a discussion of activities at Chatham, specifically their inaccessibility for many graduate students.

“Events related to film happen when we have class,” said Film and Digital Technology (FTD) major Aya Moudden. She went on to explain that most of the FTD classes occurred from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., which is also when Chatham has most if its film screenings.

Another students added that the same problem applied to the Interior Architecture students.

Waite addressed this issue of the timing of event by saying that most undergraduate students “generally settle down by 10:00 p.m.,” but she and Arena both promised to look in to the issue.

At that point Waite had to leave the meeting, and Arena moved to the next topic on the agenda, which was promoting various events on campus. In particular she encouraged graduate students to attend Thanksgiving Dinner in November, Candlelight and Eggnog in December, and Relay for Life in February.

The rest of the meeting was dedicated to problems that the graduate students were having in their day-to-day Chatham experience.

These consisted of complaints about scheduling issues (specifically prerequisites not showing up), the inconsistency of the shuttle, general improvements to the athletic facilities, getting color printers at the Eastside campus, and issues with the dining experience at Eastside, all of which Arena promised to pass on to the appropriate people.

GSA meetings are on the first Tuesday of each month. Anyone interested in becoming a member should email Arena at [email protected].

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