Oct. 6 CSG Brief with President Dr. David Finegold

Oct. 6 CSG Brief with President Dr. David Finegold

Jackie Clark

Oct. 6: Meeting with President Dr. David Finegold:

Aidan Bobik ’25 assumed Leo Lioatta’s ‘23 role as executive president due to their absence. Bobik introduced guest speakers President Dr. David Finegold and Dr. Dukes, vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). CSG members provided a list of questions either from the student body or themselves. 

Women’s institute:

Since it has been pushed into the Pensylvania Center for Women and Politics (PWCP) space, how will the school of arts, science and business’ (SASB) prior space will be utilized? Why have offices been used and the reasonings behind it?

President Finegold expressed that there has been a long-term desire for the Office of SASB near Braun, Falk, and Coolidge since the sciences are one of the main majors. So, it made sense for it to be close to students. Concerning the PWCP and Women’s Institute, he said that due to their similar synergies that they would share the same space.  

Hiring process for new President:

How are you involved in the process for the new president, and how will aspects of DEI be incorporated in the process to see if the candidate is an ideal fit for the candidate?

Although he is not directly involved in the search committee to find a successor, he provided recommendations. According to Dr. Finegold, the board would like the transitory process to being in late March or early April. Also, students will be involved in the process to ensure that their values can be represented by the new president.

Connection to Chatham community:

What are your reasons for your departure before your contract has ended? Do you intend to say connected to Chatham upon your departure?

He decided to have an early departure due to personal and familial reasons. Dr. Finegold stated that the board felt that the most strategic method was to begin the campaign process in the fall semester and introduce them as his presidency ends. He does intend to stay connected to the Chatham community, but he wants to make sure his presence is not that strong, so the new president can find their footing with Chatham University. 

Campus climate and student rights:

What policy changes have the university implanted to protect students’ reproductive freedom?

Dr. Finegold stated that voting ultimately can protect reproductive rights which the university emphasizes. He also stated that the University does offer free contraceptives and offers students connections to Planned Parenthood.”

Black Student Union demands:

What were steps made to implement the Black Student Union’s 2020 list of demands? 

According to Dr. Dukes, she has taken steps to diversify the hiring process and retention rate of staff. Actions have included expanding the search advocate program, increasing the venues to recruit interns from, and reinvigorating infinity groups for the LGBTQ + community and BIPOC community to provide marginalized identities on campus a support system. 

In addition, they are currently implementing a bias reporting system. Chris Purcell, Dean of Students, stated that it is meant to provide strategies to deal with reports involving hate speech that can provide restoration to the communities impacted from it. 

ADA accessibility issues:

Could Chatham University possibly improve its accessibility issues, especially for students who live on Fifth Ave. at the Shadyside campus? 

Dr. Finegold said that the main issue about increasing accessibility is the hilly geography, and the expensive cost to make old buildings accessible. However, he mentioned the accessibility opportunities on campus such as the ramp near Woodland Hall or the lift in Anderson Dining Hall.

Ten-year plan:

How can you explain the parking, housing and class deficits? 

Dr. Finegold discussed an extension to Buhl Hall to accommodate the high number of classes and that additional student housing in Eden Hall. Also, he mentioned their attempts to provide more full-time faculty members for high-demand classes. Concerning parking issues, he was unaware of the multiple issues occurring such as damages to cars, tickets despite having parking passes, not receiving a pass yet and being unable to park at Shadyside’s upper campus.