SGA shines a light on campus safety concerns

Student Trustee Olivia Beverlie (right) discussed campus issues. (Caroline Gordon / THE GATEPOST)

By Thomas Maye

Editorial Staff

SGA discussed campus safety problems, disputes over retroactive pay for part-time faculty, and WiFi connectivity issues during its Oct. 1 meeting.

During Open Forum, Outreach and Events Coordinator Danielle Shaw expressed concern about a lack of adequate lighting in commuter parking lots. “I’m just walking through the parking lot alone at night in the pitch black … until I get to the tram stop,” she said.

Senator McKenzie Ward said there were also no functioning lights outside the honors building, making her feel unsafe walking back to her car at night. “It was really creepy to walk out in basically complete darkness,” she said.

Ward was also concerned about a potential lack of surveillance camera presence in the Maple Lot after a car was damaged last week. 

Student Trustee Olivia Beverlie said SGA will respond to these issues by holding a “safety walk” with President F. Javier Cevallos, Dale Hamel, executive vice president, Lorretta Holloway, vice president for enrollment and student development, and an accompanying University police officer Oct. 8 to point out the areas students believe need more lighting or blue light emergency systems. 

Beverlie said previous walks have led to direct changes in safety lighting installation. “As a result of [previous safety walks], for instance, there’s now more lighting on the other side of McCarthy going down into the McCarthy parking lot in between Foster Hall and here,” she said. 

Emphasizing the increased significance of student safety, Beverlie discussed higher-than-expected student enrollment numbers. 

She said according to Jeremy Spencer, dean of enrollment management, an estimated 5,207 students were enrolled after add-drop at FSU, marking a “slight increase” from the year’s projections.

During her student trustee’s report, Beverlie highlighted delayed salary payments for part-time faculty that were detailed at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. 

She said with the permission of the Board of Trustees, Cevallos will send paychecks Oct. 4 to provide the raise the state university system has denied them, “instead of waiting for the other state universities to go ahead and pay their part-time faculty.

“President Cevallos didn’t see it benefitting our students at all to not pay our part-time faculty,” she said.

Beverlie said the payment deficit totals $13,000 “across the entire state university system,” adding that FSU’s deficit only comprises a small portion of the amount. 

She concluded her report by sharing responses from the IT department about WiFi issues after several SGA members complained about poor connectivity to the FSU_Wireless network at previous open forums. 

She said while several buildings faced issues – including Dwight, McCarthy, and West and Peirce Halls – IT undertook software updates last week, which may alleviate problems. If people still have issues, they should directly alert IT, either by call, email, or using the IT self-report portal.

Reporting issues “is one of the most important things to keep in mind, because as I was talking with them, one of the biggest things was that they had no idea this was happening to students because no one was reporting it,” she said.

Beverlie added while IT is working with developers on improving access in Dwight Hall specifically, it is facing difficulties due to the building’s age, and because the floors of the gym require metal reinforcements in the weight room, which can disrupt signals. 

She said connecting to the FSU Guest network across campus is an “ongoing issue.” 

Also during the meeting, Comic Book Club presented a funding request of $3,012.50 for their trip to Rhode Island Comic Con. The group originally requested $3,096.50, but $84 was deducted at a previous finance committee meeting, as SGA does not cover the cost of trip meals. 

Robert Johnson Jr., president of Comic Book Club, said, “I feel like the trip to Rhode Island Comic Con is truly special. Sure, we may not be able to take the whole student body, but those who do go have an unforgettable experience.” 

The full amount requested was approved by SGA.

In other news:

SGA President Matty Bennet said the Bias Education and Response Team is looking for student feedback, and will be holding two open forums in the CIE – one Oct. 9 from 10 – 11 a.m., and one Oct. 18 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. 

Bennet said SGA – along with the Dean of Students office, M.I.S.S., and History Club – will be hosting a $2-per-ticket screening of the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet” at Regal Theatres in Marlborough. 

Shaw detailed plans for SGA’s planned retreat to the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis, as well as upcoming SGA fundraising events. 

Senator Emma Sullivan was given a piece of paper for the weekly “U-Rock” award, as the rock itself was not present. 

[Editor’s Note: McKenzie Ward is a staff writer for The Gatepost. Robert Johnson Jr. is an Arts & Features editor for The Gatepost.]