By Lauren del Valle
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
One Hofstra senior held the floor for upward of 35 minutes while students and faculty were wall-to-wall at the annual Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday.
Dan Lewitt, a senior accounting major, presented a double-sided piece of loose leaf listing proposals for improvement. Having increased his role as a student leader in his final year, Lewitt felt this was the best forum for his suggestions.
“As [seniors] it is our duty to be able to lay the road for the people behind us to try to make the University better,” said Lewitt.
Panelists included President Stuart Rabinowitz and Joseph Barkwill, vice president of Facilities and Operations. Sandra Johnson, vice president of Student Affairs, and Public Safety Director Karen O’Callaghan also represented the administration. Student Government Association President Andrea Strandowicz and Public Relations Chair William Finnegan rounded out the panel of six.
Commuter parking on the academic side of campus was among the hot-button issues. Sophomore accounting major Leah Sax expressed her concern with the lack of parking in close proximity to classrooms.
Vice President Barkwill clarified that there is ample parking on campus; much of it, however, is on the south side. Shuttle services run throughout campus, assured Barkwill. Rabinowitz lamented the costliness of a vertical parking structure, breaking the expense down to $25,000 per parking space in such a structure.
Lewitt proposed the implementation of two common hours per week, moved to Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to increase student activity involvement.
“I feel Hofstra becomes a place people go to. I think we need to make it a destination. Where they want to stay at and become more involved in, because when we get everyone involved, that’s when we’ll start to be able to make things really happen here. And I think we don’t really have that right now out of a lot of our student body,” Lewitt said.
While agreeing with the need for an additional activity period, administrators said that scheduling issues and classroom availability currently prevent an additional study block Monday through Thursday. The Hofstra community’s aversion to Friday classes aroused laughter in the room as Rabinowitz joked that no one would show up to a Friday common hour activity.
Newly appointed Career Center Executive Director Gary Miller spoke of future academic initiatives to offer credit for resume and cover letter courses. Miller also noted the elimination of preliminary criteria that previously stood between students and the Pride-CMS job-inquiry software.
Much to the visible chagrin of the panel, Lewitt returned to a long-debated issue, suggesting a free-market approach to food services on campus in order to drive down prices. As per usual, Rabinowitz noted the five-year contractual agreement with Lackmann and promised to reevaluate the situation in three years come expiration time. Barkwill directly addressed Lewitt, explaining that such a competitive system would not necessarily benefit the University.
They attributed the inflated prices to the incorporation of employee benefits and salary expenses into unit costs.
Lewitt drew particular attention to the convoluted semantics muddling SGA legislation that currently governs bureaucratic processes, by which clubs must abide.
“I think a lot of the administrators do take proactive steps to make things better. I just think the turn around time on some of these things can be slightly slow,” Lewitt said.
The newly elected SGA President Mark Atkinson assured Lewitt that the club packet defining such processes is to be done before the beginning of next semester.
“To be honest with you I’m just looking at what doesn’t work, what sort of works, and what we can make better,” said Atkinson. “A lot of asking people questions about how has it always been and why has it always been like that.”