By Brienne Kenlock
Members of the York College administration and Student Government Association (SGA) held a Town Hall meeting in the atrium to allow students to express their concerns about the school.
Students who attended were given a choice to speak out in person or to express their concerns on index cards which were read out loud by a speaker.
“As Student Government, we are here to represent the students,” said SGA President Rachelle Antoine. “We’ve been hearing some of your concerns and brought them up to President Marcia V. Keizs. We want to have this meeting so the student can have the opportunity to ask questions.”
One issue a student raised was the price of college tuition. Keizs announced the possibility that tuition rates could increase up to $200 per semester under a proposal by CUNY Chancellor John Milliken.
“There is a proposed, modest increase that has been requested by the chancellor and approved by the Board of Trustees,” said Keizs. “We do not know if it will be approved by the state legislature.”
Some students spoke about the unsanitary conditions of college bathrooms which has been a problem in the past.
“I’ve been in some of the stalls and some of the toilets won’t flush and the locks for some of the third floor bathroom stalls don’t work,” said Celine Cruz, a 19-year-old Biology major said.
James Minto, the executive director of Facilities, Planning and Operations responded, outlining some of the efforts that have been underway for the past year. “There are 96 bathrooms on campus, the ones in the main buildings are used the most,” said Minto. “Some have clogs and old drains. We will increase supervision and cleaning staff.”
Ronald C. Thomas, the vice-president of Administrative Affairs and Finances, added that the college is continuing to grapple with the lack of staff available for custodial duties.
In addition, complaints about rodents and insects became another focus of discussion. The appearance of rodents has been an issue with York students. Two weeks earlier a student recorded a cellphone video of a raccoon in the cafeteria (which is posted on the Pandora’s Box website.) The rodent situation poses as a safety risk to the campus. According to Minto, the rodent population on campus significantly decreased, but not completely gone.
“We’ve just changed to a new pest control system and there’s been some progress, but we’re still working on that,” he said.
Keizs added that there is going to be a training implemented to address the imperfections in the school. “This problem is not new to us and one of the things we’ve focused on is improving training for employees in which it’s important for students to give feedback so we can make improvements,” said Keizs.