Student Government throws a hail mary for alcohol

Alan Vargas

In a last-ditch effort to change the new alcohol guidelines, Student Government approved a Joint Resolution recommending that alcohol be allowed at student events, including tailgating. The resolution will be forwarded to UNF President David Szymanski and Interim Provost Pamela Chally.

During her remarks to Senators, Student Body President Jenna DuPilka shared that one of the questions by the Board of Trustees threw her off guard.

“One trustee asked me why only 14 percent of students responded to the survey and that question really threw me. Because as we all know that 14 percent of the population of UNF is major,” DuPilka said. “Most university surveys receive 600 responses and we got 2,500 responses in hours.”

Ultimately, the Board decided to agree with President Szymanski’s decision to ban alcohol but SG hopes that Szymanski will consider alternatives after hearing the students’ voices.

Senators also had the opportunity to hear from and ask questions to Interim Provost and Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Pamela Chally. She shared some of her personal history, including being a nurse and taking a teaching position at UNF in 1993 before becoming the Dean of the Brooks College of Health in 1998. Chally actually retired before she was asked by former President Delaney to become Interim Provost during the transition from Delaney to Szymanski.

Chally also shared Szymanski’s vision of promoting student success and talked about some of the changes he’s made since taking over May 31. Some of the changes of Szymanski’s first 90 days include the removal of Papa Johns and the Confucius Institute, elimination of the Vice President of International and Student Affairs and Human Resources, the revision of the Title IX policy to require reporting of incidents of sexual assault and the student alcohol ban on campus.

“We realize that we are both very student-focused. We are both committed to student engagement and success,” Chally said as she described the reorganization of Student Affairs into Academic Affairs. “Now, we are no longer in separate silos and we can work together to make sure that students have a positive experience at UNF.”

DuPilka asked Chally what some of the opportunities she’s found from the reorganization. Chally answered that there has been a lot of duplication of services in both divisions, which she said they are working to reduce and remove.

Sergeant at Arms Senator Anthony Hall then asked how the University expects to retain students by removing fun parts of the university experience.

“We are well aware of the consternation about the new policy. We have listened but the reason the policy was passed is that the president is very concerned about student safety,” Chally said.

SG Chief of Staff John Alozska asked about the January Board of Governors meeting where Szymanski will present his “turn around plan” for the University.

“We are laser-focused on student success. We are pushing our students to take five classes so they can finish in four years. We are expanding student support like mentoring and supplemental instruction to help. We feel that we can succeed at these metrics,” Chally answered.

SG Vice President Maria Bermudez asked, “How is UNF ensuring that we are achieving success in things that the metrics don’t measure?”

Chally answered, “It’s really a balance between recognizing that the metrics measure something that’s important to the state right now, but if we only focus on that then we’ll look back and realize that we missed the boat. I can assure that faculty reminds me daily that there’s more to UNF than the metrics.”

The next Senate meeting will be on Friday, Nov 2.

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