Monday’s USG Town Hall meeting with Scott Scarborough held great promises, but left something to be desired.
The idea of a town hall meeting carries a strong connotation of intimacy: guests openly presenting ideas, voicing opinions, asking questions; panelists giving candid, thoughtful responses—all in the hopes of resolving misunderstandings and revealing the truth.
But too much of a disconnect between the audience and Scarborough prevented this from happening—the result of students only being allowed to text their questions, which, if chosen at all, were filtered before posited, creating an easy pathway for Scarborough to dance around contentious topics, while at the same time appearing to thoroughly address them.
That Scarborough was given a list of preparatory questions a week in advance made it even more doubtful that students were getting the responses they sought.
USG’s hesitancy in allowing genuine interaction between audience and panelist was too cautious; open debate, candid responses, are exactly what UA’s constituents need, regardless of considerations over whether that debate gets heated. It inevitably would—and must—lest students, faculty, and alumni become even more heated.
The hopeful concession is that Scarborough will answer the remainder of students’ questions some time in the next few weeks, with answers being published on USG’s website. Time will tell what amounts from this—but a future, truly open forum between Scarborough and his students would be just as greatly, if not more, welcome.