Olian hopes to continue the conversation

“There was a diversity of opinions. There were a lot of good questions, and I tried to answer them as transparently as possible."

By: Brooke Reilly

Following her informal town hall meeting, Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian sat down with Q30 News for an interview regarding students’ questions and concerns.

“There was a diversity of opinions. There were a lot of good questions, and I tried to answer them as transparently as possible,” Olian said about the town hall. “And there were some ideas that we took to heart and will engage in in the future.”

Yesterday, Quinnipiac freshman Nicole Giordano created a petition titled “Get Quinnipiac President Judy Olian Fired.” After hearing of this, Olian called for a meeting with Giordano, members of the Student Government Association (SGA) and a few university administrators.

“I wanted to get as broad a perspective as I could from the leadership of the student body on what their thinking was,” Olian said. “I wanted them to have context about why we initiated a variety of actions in the context of our strategic plan.”

Attendees of this meeting decided that a solution to increase transparency would be to hold an informal town hall meeting. Members of administration and SGA collaborated to find a time and location that would work best for the majority of students.

The event was held in the first floor dining hall on the Mount Carmel Campus at 12 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Many students were in attendance to express their thoughts and hear Olian’s responses.

Throughout the meeting, many students challenged Olian regarding the recent decision to spend almost $1 million in renovations for the university president’s home.

“I view it as a question of the institution’s decision to invest in a property for the university and a residence for the president,” Olian said.

Students also asked Olian about the decision to cease operations of WQUN-AM.

“We haven’t been as clear about what the radio station will be repurposed for,” Olian said. “Namely a podcast center for our students and our faculty and the local community.”

Olian connected much of what was discussed about WQUN-AM back to the strategic plan.

“I would say that the strategic plan is about 85 percent there,” Olian said. “We are finalizing the internal version, which is the blueprint.”

Although the strategic plan will not have a short-term impact on current students, Olian is optimistic that this plan will not stop the university from making improvements in due time.

“The strategic plan is really building for our future,” Olian said. “This is a five-year plan, but we haven’t stopped doing things that we’d be doing over the course of the year.”

Through the strategic plan, Olian has a clear vision for the future.

“I think that Quinnipiac will not just have distinctive programs of the future because we’re so agile, but we’ll embrace a much broader set of learners and look like the university of the future,” Olian said.

Between the petition and the town hall meeting, Olian heard many differing opinions throughout the day today. She remains committed to continuing this open conversation.

“I appreciate the support that I’ve heard from many students, which has been heartwarming for where we’re heading and for the decisions that we’re making and the appreciation for the open dialogue that we’re having,” Olian said.