USG seeks transparency with ‘Town Hall’ series

Starts forum to connect students to administrators, explain recent changes


By Logan Lane, Copy Editor

Last Thursday, Sept. 10, UA’s Undergraduate Student Government gathered at the Student Union Starbucks lounge to discuss a summer of radical changes, questionable cuts, and concerns over a lack of administrative transparency.

USG’s Facebook page described the event as “an open forum where students can engage with members about recent changes and budget cuts at UA.”

Garret Scherba, USG Chief Justice, encouraged those there to text in their questions. He then posed them to a panel that included Eugene Walters, district marketing Manager for Aramark, the company that took over Dining Services; John Messina, associate vice president of student affairs; and Stacey Moore, associate vice president of student success. USG president Taylor Swift also joined them.

Questions ranged from panelists’ favorite part of UA, queries into the state of EJ Thomas, to interest in how students can be involved in shaping the University’s future.

Many of the students’ frustrations fell on Walters, who was fielding questions pertaining to the changes in the University’s Dining Services. His initial enthusiasm to explain the new meal blocks and swipe policies evaporated when students expressed concern at a lack of affordable health options, now that Subway is on its way out.

Walters explained that Subway chose to opt out of its contract, and that the University has nothing to do with it. After listing a few alternative healthy dining options, including Einstein Bros. Bagels and Steak ‘n Shake, he asked for “more specific questions.”

All four panelists agreed on the importance of students voicing their concerns. Messina suggested students get involved, saying to “express concern in appropriate…. and inappropriate ways.”

“If you don’t complain to the right people, then changes can’t occur,” Walters added.

After the forum, USG president Taylor Swift voiced concern over the lack of student presence. He wants those who didn’t attend to know “they are being heard,” and that the Town Hall gives them an opportunity to discuss issues facing the University.

Messina echoed the sentiment by remarking how important it is “get everyone on the same page.”

The next Town Hall is slated to take place mid-October. Swift was happy to confirm that President Scarborough will be there answering students’ questions.