As a way to explore issues around campus, the inaugural SGA presidential town hall was held Feb. 14 in the Student Government Association Chambers in the Student Center.
President Houston Davis,Vice President Diane Newton and senior SGA President Hershila Lallu answered questions regarding many issues on campus that are relevant to students. They were also joined by the Vice President for Student Services and Institutional Diversity Ronnie Wilson and UCA’s General Counsel Warren Readnour.
SGA Vice President of Operations Megan McAfee moderated the event and read questions sent in by the student
body. The questions were gathered in advance by SGA via a Google form submitted by the students.
The town hall was also live-streamed on SGA’s Instagram, Facebook and YouTube pages.
“We realized that not a lot of students could come back to campus at night, especially those that commute,” McAfeesaid.
Among the subjects brought up and discussed were sexual assaults and measures the university could enact to deal with them. The student who submitted the question asked about a possible victim advocacy center. Davis said UCA does have a sexual assault advisory committee that is researching several things the university can do.
“One of those is really accounting for all the services that we presently have available,” he said.
Davis addressed a need to find gaps in services.
“I don’t think that overlaps are a problem” Davis said, “but gaps in services are a great concern. Where can we identify those and then where can we look to best practice things UCA should begin doing.”
Academic advising was also cited as an area that could see improvement. Davis responded to this by saying that many deans around campus have agreed to take on advising as a challenge this year.
During the town hall the question of what concealed carry is going to look like at UCA was raised. Davis said that recently the Arkansas State Police recently certified the first trainer that can teach the class to obtain enhanced concealed carry permits.
This not only allows people to carry on campus but also in government buildings. Davis and Lallu said that, in the interest of promoting continued growth of the university, they intend to hold more town halls in the future.
Right now they are considering holding four per year — two each semester. Lallu said that events like the town hall are important to maintain a stream of communication between the student body and the university’s administration.
“It speaks a lot to the administration that they’re willing to be here on a Wednesday night at 6 o’clock to just sit and answer questions from students,” Lallu said.
Photo by Lauren Swaim.