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Quinnipiac University Holds Annual State of the QUnion; Topics Varied from Academic Rigor, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, and Campus Safety.

HAMDEN, Conn. — The Quinnipiac University Student Government Association hosted Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion David Fryson, Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett, University Provost Debra Liebowitz, President Judy Olian, Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Sal Filardi, for the annual State of the QUnion, a town hall styled forum to address the state of the university. 

Students had the opportunity to ask university administration questions regarding their concerns, ranging from topics of campus diversity to the recent construction. 

As the acceptance rate rises, some students are expressing concern regarding rigor in the classroom. Ellett stated that students should not worry; the administration assured that the university will not change the rigor of the classes or the requirements to attend Quinnipiac.

With the construction of the South Quad coming to an end, Filardi further explained the university’s Facilities Master Plan, which addresses all of Quinnipiac’s campuses’ needs and goals. Filardi said the university has begun some of these next steps.

“How do we best meet the space needs for both our current programs that need space and don’t have it or new strategic programs that we’re beginning that need space and don’t have it, so we’re in the middle of that study now,” Filardi said.

As campus expands both physically and geographically, there is concern surrounding campus safety. Additionally regarding recent trespassing incidents on campus, the administration was prompted to discuss the future of campus safety. 

Olian stated, “Many of our public safety officials were former police, former state police, so we have a very professional secure force here.”

Ellett further emphasized the importance of supporting the community to increase safety across campus. 

“Safety is everyone’s business and let’s watch out for each other each and every day. So if we see someone on campus who shouldn’t be here, let’s make sure we make that phone call to public safety.”

Many students expressed a feeling of exclusion due to the lack of diversity across campus both in the student and faculty bodies. The university administration says this is a project being worked on. 

Over the past 12 months, the university has seen five diversity and inclusion officers. After just five months, Wayne Gersie, Quinnipiac University’s former vice president for equity and inclusion left the office due to “personal reasons” per an email from President Judy Olian, on Dec. 7, 2023. Since Gersie’s departure, the university hired David Fryson as Quinnipiac’s interim vice president for equity and inclusion, who began his role earlier this year. 

Fryson further explained, “We’re currently in the process of re-staffing our office (Office of Equity and Inclusion). There is a transitional period that we have right now. We believe that over the next couple of months we will not only rebuild the office but the office will be stronger than it was before.”

“We have been very intentional about that, in building some initiatives that are particularly designed to broaden our faculty; and we have been successful in recruiting a percentage of underrepresented faculty,” said Lebowitz.

With recent hate-crime incidents, Olian said the university is consistently working to put an end to any form of discrimination, saying, “Frankly we all have to be vigilant, see something, say something… Fortunately there have been very few incidents on campus. We respond immediately when we know the perpetrator and if we don’t know the perpetrator, we do a deep investigation.” 

Olian expressed her understanding of this need saying, “A sense of welcome, diversity, backgrounds, opinions, world views, lived experiences, is something that we all need to embrace.” 

University administration encourages students to schedule individual meetings with them to discuss their concerns, expressing they have an ‘open door’ policy. 

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Julia Barcello
Julia Barcello, Executive Producer: Newscast
Julia Barcello is a 3+1 journalism student from Greenwich, CT graduating in 2025.  She is minoring in financial journalism and Italian. In Greenwich, Julia is an intern for a local newspaper, the Greenwich Sentinel. She is an executive producer for the Q30 Newscast show.

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