Senators host town hall meeting


Lateef Oloko/Staff Photographer

SGA senators listen carefully and take copious notes as students express their feelings on the various topics that affect them.

Brionna McCall, Universty News Editor

Senator-at-Large Chavon Brown hosted the first Student Government Assocition Legislative Branch Town Hall Meeting for the 2022-23 school year in Facility One residence hall’s lobby.
The Nov. 16 meeting consisted of listening to students’ concerns about things on campus.
Some topics included university events, problems with the cafe and its employees and housing.
Along with Sen. Brown, the participating senators were Sen. Michael Stallworth Jr., Sen. Tynedria Wright, Sen. Jade Davis, Sen. Asia Turner and Sen. Kameelah Freeman.
A student brought up how he thinks the university should bring back study halls in the library, because it would be a good way to achieve personal goals in the classroom and in the overall community.
In response to the student’s concerns, Brown mentioned that the library closes at odd hours and students are not informed when the library is closing early.
“I know some people looked into writing a bill to extend the library hours or maybe we will look into a bill for the library to send out notifications when they’re going to be closed,” she said. “I know that our vice president (Trint Martinez) wrote a bill last year to extend the library hours and another senator is actually trying to extend the library hours recently but we’re just trying to figure it out exactly, because we’ve heard some things about not having the funding to keep the library open … we hear your concerns and we will try to get more updates on that shortly.”
The Senate and the participating students talked about what events they would like to see returned or begin at the university. According to the students, they would like to have the cafe mixers along with student vs. faculty basketball games.
There were concerns about how the university’s history is taught to the students. The university is aware that students are supposed to learn the alma mater during their first-year experience course, but the test is just fill-in-the-blanks, so students really don’t learn anything.
According to a senior in attendance, during her freshman year in 2019, the class, even then, had a fill-in-the-blank test.
Some honors students in attendance inquired about their housing as well. They complained about being assigned double rooms with roommates that have very different schedules, which causes major inconveniences and clashing.
Sen. Brown, an honors student herself, understood the concern and said it was something the senate can look into.
“We can try to speak to housing and of course the director about getting a floor,” she said. “The only thing will be logistics wise. How will we do that? Will it be in Facility One or will it be in Facility Two, which is a different building. We already have the athletes who take up the majority of the fourth floor of certain buildings. It’s not fair for us to have a whole floor to honors students considering this is the only co-ed area, but we can definitely look into why you all are always getting doubles.”
Students also expressed concern over Fred Shuttlesworth Commons, the university’s cafeteria. Some concerns were the odd smell, the lack of variety in the food choices and the attitudes of the employees.
According to Sen. Davis, wanted to make sure that the university is elevated.
“We can still be the best HBCU, while elevating the university,” she said. “Personally, I have smelled the stench in the cafe, I don’t really like it. I’ve experienced the new employees there and I haven’t had the best experience. There have been a lot of concerns and there have been discussions with people who run the dining hall, so we want to make sure that we can let them know what the students want.”
Students were not as critical over the new upgrades to the cafeteria as they were the food. A number of students said they were tired of eating the same foods every day such as french fries, and they believe that there should be a nutrition plan in the cafeteria so there can be more variety for healthy foods.
The questionable quality of food was also mentioned during the town hall with students citing molded bread or food looking inedible.
Sen. Brown compared the university’s operation to that of an insitution like Georgia State University.
“Some schools like Georgia State will cook food in front of you,” Sen. Brown said. “If you have a dietary restriction or a need, they will literally ask you what would you want, and they will go to the back and make it. We might not have as much money as Georgia State, but there are still ways that we can look into getting different options of food.”
Students believe that there should be a survey of the cafeteria staff every semester or every two months just to make sure that they know the students are observing their behavior towards them.
“We have received some pushback with the surveys that we had today, and we may have touched some things that we didn’t exactly know or were out of our jurisdiction, so we’re going to try to continue to have the surveys, but as ASU is going to do in general is that they will do anything to silence something that looks bad even if it’s the truth,” Sen. Brown said.
The senate concluded the meeting by asking students their thoughts on what the senate could improve on.
Some said the senate can work on their communication with the student body a bit more, and show themselves to the students in person more because many students do not even know what the senate is, who the senators are and what they represent.