State of the QUnion Recap

Kaye Paddyfote, News Director

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its annual State of the QUnion.

Students were able to attend a viewing party in the Piazza or at home on their personal laptops via zoom webinar. The panelists consisted of:

Quinnipiac University pres. Judy Olian, 

Provost Debra Libeowtiz, 

Don Sawyer Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

Sal Filardi, Vice President Facilities and Capital Planning 

Dr. David Hill, Senior Medical Advisor, COVID-19 Taskforce

Tom Ellett, Chief Experience Officer

Mark Varholak, Vice President for Finance & Chief Financial Officer 

While watching the event, senior Jonathan Sweeney felt like it was administration versus students. 

“I feel like there’s no real common ground,” Sweeney said. “I feel like the students are advocating for one thing and administration is definitely delivering a different narrative and both students and administration have different prerogatives in what they want to see for the university.”

Junior, Sumer Perratti said the panelist were acting like politicians because they were not truly answering the questions.

“They were kind of turning it around, spinning it in favor of the university… I think a lot of people know that a lot of the questions went unanswered and obviously I understand that there was over 150 questions, but there were some pressing questions that were completely ignored or not fully addressed,” Perratti said.

Vice President of SGA, Caroline Mello said there were 441 questions in total.

“We really tried to pick the questions that were asked most often,” Mello said. “A lot of the questions I asked, in the beginning, were the ones that were presubmitted… We tried to pick the ones that were submitted more than once because we knew that several people wanted it answered.”

Sweeney still has concerns about students who may travel to hotspot states such as Florida, for vacation.

“What’s the school going to do if they find out a group of students go to Miami, go to nightclubs and are maskless,” Sweeney said. “Or goes out of the country like to Bahamas or Aruba. What is the school going to do? Is there going to be repercussions… What is the school’s plans to combat this because as a graduating senior I want to have the last two months of my senior year and I feel like it’s really unfair students are getting away with going away then returning back to campus.”

Dr. David Hill informed Q30 News that although there is no way to know where students travel to, should students travel and not follow the protocols there will be consequences.

“We’re not really going to accommodate an extra way to make it okay that students did that (travel out the state),” Hill said. “If they do leave for the week and we have mandatory testing, then there will be consequences to that as there have been if you miss your required weekly testing.”

Another concern from the event is the new parking fee that will be implemented next fall to all undergraduate students who live off-campus.

Chief Experience officer Tom Ellett spoke to Q30 News more about this subject.

“The policy is the policy, and if students have a financial reason for the appeal (not having to pay $90 a semester), we’ll go through it with financial aid and they will help us make that determination,” Ellett said. 

Students made a petition shortly after this fee was announced and Ellett said he spoke to them.

“I’ve seen it, and I’ve talked to the leadership of that group,” Ellet said. “I’ve had a great conversation with them, and I have offered to meet with them again.”

Ellet asked, “Why are they appealing it?”

As a non-commuter Perratti feels as though the parking fee is one of the most unfair policies the school can implement.

“It makes no sense as to why they need to charge $90 dollars a semester for these commuter students, especially when we’re a majority online and say you only have one in-person class and you have to pay $90 dollars,” Peratti said. “I think that’s ridiculous and if I were a commuter I would be extremely upset about that.”

Ellet did say anything is possible when asked about the possibility of a commuter-only parking lot.

Something else students have a concern with is the lack of mental health days.

“My roommates and I have started a petition yesterday (March 2, 2021) to add more self-care days and there are close to 300 signatures already,” Peratti said. “We tried to bring it to the attention of the panelists and they’re saying it’s actually not possible. Which obviously anything is possible…It’s really frustrating to see a lack of response or concern from the administration.”

Perratii also feels the new rule that students must live on campus for three years starting next fall is going to drive away future prospective students away from Quinnipiac.

“When you really think about it, if you’re a student and you really love Quinnipiac, you love the program they offered to you but, you can’t afford room and board… They have no consideration for those financial situations of students.” Perattii said.

When asked how would the school enforce this new living rule due to the reason students move off-campus is that it’s cheaper, Ellet said he did not know that reason to be a fact.

Student Government Association has since worked on a resolution for the parking fee and Chief Experience officer Tom Ellett has invited students to speak with him through his office hours.