This past Saturday, Interim President Lisa Lynch hosted a State of the University talk designed to inform visiting parents about the University’s recent achievements. While this Board recognizes that the nature of a Fall Fest event may be limiting topics we feel there are still a number of issues that Lynch can address during her one-year tenure that would better be suited for a talk entitled “State of the University.”

Lynch’s interim presidency places her in a unique position to address certain campus issues that permanent presidents will inevitably devote less time toward. Lynch announced as one of the conditions of her presidency was that she was going to focus less on continued fundraising and more on campus life since it is hard to take on new fundraising projects during a one-year period, in a July 1 interview with the Justice.

First and foremost, the administration needs to embrace the prospect of adjunct faculty unionization. One of the primary reasons any student any school is the faculty, and it is the faculty who keep the students invested in learning. It would be prudent to invest time, energy and money in faculty.

Second, this Board recommends that the University take a longer look into providing Disability Services with the resources and information they need to effectively do their job. Since the University last did a comprehensive look at disabilities on campus nearly a decade ago, there have been far too few changes to rectify the situation. The University should at least consult an expert who can recommend necessary standards of modernization. Disabilities should not stand betwe en any student and their education.

The issue of sexual assault is one that we cannot expect the University to fully address within the time frame of Lynch’s tenure. However, the University can take the necessary steps to further spread awareness of resources on campus with the data gained from the climate survey. The data showed that two of the biggest challenges regarding combating sexual assault on campus are spreading awareness of the resources available to survivors and establishing trust in the system. While this board recognizes that both tasks are complex and difficult, the University should use the data gathered from the survey to build at least a plan for addressing sexual assault on campus.

Even though Lynch’s interim presidency will only last a year, there are still a number of steps she can take to address issues at the University. Unionization and disability services are both issues that the University can take clear steps to fix through support and research. 

The University can use the data it gathered from this year’s survey to begin to address the issues that were uncovered, especially regarding making the student body aware of resources on campus. In doing so, the University would have more comprehensive talking points available for next year’s State of the University address.