State of the QUnion 2022 Recap

Ben Kane


Hannah Mirsky, News Director

Quinnipiac University’s administration gathered at the Student Government Association (SGA) led State of the QUnion on Wednesday, Feb. 16 to discuss in an open dialogue to the community the various concerns students have about the school.

The administration panel included President Judy Olian, Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett, Provost Debra Liebowitz, Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Leadership Development Don Sawyer, Chief of Public Safety Tony Reyes and Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Sal Filardi. The topics ranged from parking to dining and mask mandates to the construction for the new “South Quad.”

With a limited amount of time to discuss each topic in detail, SGA President Nicholas Ciampanelli says highlighting the latest improvements or developments in the ten-point plan would be great to hear from the panel.

“Just given that there was a limited time span we couldn’t get through everything, usually I always think it’s good for them to hit on their ten-point plan such as the DEI plan, the indigeneity initiative, the sustainability plan,” Ciampanelli said.

Many of the questions this year were focused on parking and directed at Ellett.

“Go online to any student newspaper of any college or university, what are the three main problems that students complain about? Parking, dining, and course registration,” Ellett said. “And I am blessed to work on all three with you to help resolve them.”

Mask Mandate

As COVID-19 cases stabilize in Connecticut and vaccination rates rise on campus after the Feb. 15 deadline to get the booster shot, students continue to push the administration on when the campus will begin to relax their mask mandate.

Ellett says that Quinnipiac actively monitors the state guidance for institutions and our town to make decisions for the entire university.

Liebowitz says that these decisions are made to prioritize safety.

“What we want is to prioritize safety but make sure that we are doing that with the most minimal restrictions that is possible,” Liebowitz said.


One of the larger issues concerning students each year is the lack of parking spaces, but Ellett says the administration believes there are enough spots on-campus, in adjacent lots and about 20% of spots in Hogan Lot are open all of the time.

While there are more places for students to park, the convenience of the walk or additional shuttle ride is what students want fixed. Reyes says there needs to be a culture change surrounding this issue.

“Changing the culture and making sure students are using the resources that are available,” Reyes said.

Reyes says that parking is also a multifaceted problem, one of those problems being the number of students coming back to campus after COVID-19 restrictions were loosened. Ellett feels that students should understand that it has changed now.

“I think it’s an anomaly that we went from hybrid and many students had parking because the lots were very very empty and then we’ve gone to non-hybrid, back in-person, and so that has probably seemed like a jolt to those who parked and had a car last year,” Ellett said.

The SGA Transportation advisory board continues to meet every other week to discuss the current issues that face parking.

“South Quad”

The construction for the “South Quad” will be the newest development on the Mount Carmel campus since the 1990s.

Construction for the buildings will begin this summer and is set to be completed by 2024. Filardi says that hundreds of people were involved in the process and will continue to meet with further people.

“The 2020 Master Plan which really kind of sets the stage toward for that type of development was a campus, community-wide process,” Filardi said. “There were lots of students involved, multiple meetings with the consultants, lots of faculty and staff, all the heads of all the departments and administrators were part of all these discussions.”

Gender-neutral spaces

The buildings that will be a part of the “South Quad” will have gender-neutral facilities. As a part of the LGBTQ+ plan introduced by Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), there will be a list of where general neutral bathrooms are located.

“The other piece is that one of the initiatives is that any new buildings that will be established on campus would have gender-neutral facilities within them and so that’s something that we’re committed to,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer says that these facilities will also be labeled on the outside for students.

“Part of the LGBTQ+ plan… was, first listing the places where we have gender-neutral bathrooms and I think one of the other initiatives would be better labeling of the bathrooms,” Sawyer said.

When questioned on the university segregating residential life by gender, Ellett mentioned that there is still a gender-neutral housing process in place.

Global Awareness

While the panel was quick to address the global opportunities Quinnipiac has such as their study abroad programs and virtual global internships, there was a lack of discussion on their global awareness.

In the ten-point plan from the spring 2021 Equity and Inclusion Report, the tenth point outlines the progress in civic engagement where the goal is to “promote greater global awareness and engagement that holds leaders accountable.”

Throughout the pandemic, Quinnipiac offered virtual opportunities to help students connect with individuals across the globe.

“One of the things that we did was even in the midst of COVID, find ways for students to have meaningful engagement across borders,” Sawyer said. “We received funding to do global internships but that were virtual because we still believe that the connection across the globe is important so that was one of the ways that we did it through a donor who allowed us to do this work.”

While not every question was answered at the event, SGA and the administration look to continue the dialogue. Students can send any questions that were not answered during the event to SGA Vice President Chris Longchamp.