In the spirit of continuing administrative openness and transparency at the College of Staten Island (CSI), as well as collaboration between students and administrators, College President Dr. Tomas D. Morales and Student Government President Jolanta Smulski fielded questions from students side-by-side at CSI’s first-ever Presidents’ Forum recently.
The event was well-attended with approximately 100 students and administration members on hand to hear the presidents’ remarks.
In her introduction, President Smulski welcomed the students and explained that the event was organized not only to give participants a chance to ask important questions, but also to give students the chance to listen to one another and discuss campus issues. She also encouraged attendees to read the Student Government newsletter, Time-Out CSI, and mentioned an ongoing survey regarding student rights, which may eventually lead to a proposed Student Bill of Rights at the College.
President Morales, in his introductory remarks, noted that this cooperative event speaks to the College’s values. He also discussed the role of Student Government and called on student leaders to reach out to their constituents to gauge their opinions and to foster dialogue between students and the College. In addition, Dr. Morales discussed the difficult budget situation that CSI will face for at least the next year, he encouraged students to participate in the campus-wide review of the College’s new Strategic Plan, and he recommended that students take part in the wide variety of activities that are available through the Division of Student Affairs, Student Government, the Office of Student Life, and other clubs and organizations.
The presidents next turned to student questions, which had been submitted on index cards. The questions addressed topics ranging from the availability of more class sections, how an increase in Student Activity Fees will affect child care on campus, the effectiveness of writing to government officials, student involvement, the College’s image during a period of economic downturn, and the Student Bill of Rights, among others. As both presidents addressed the questions, a central theme was their encouragement of students to take an active role in their College, underscoring the significance of collaboration between students and the administration in the ongoing effort to move the College into the future.
After the initial questions, event moderator Ken Bach, CSI Director of Communications, turned the floor over to audience members who asked the presidents questions on topics ranging from learning communities to traffic issues to alcohol policy.
The event concluded with President Smulski recognizing Student Government members in the audience and calling on students to seek their assistance regarding matters of concern. President Morales then introduced the members of the administration and commented that he is privileged to have the chance to work with the College’s exemplary faculty, staff, and student leaders.