The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter at Hofstra University held a Town Hall Meeting on February 22 to hear students’ complaints. Students were able to voice their opinions while the NAACP executive board members sat on a panel at the Leo A. Guthart Cultural Center Theater.
During the Town Hall Meeting several topics were brought up, such as dormitory conditions, public safety concerns, academic courses, and what seemed to be everyone’s favorite topic, the Lackmann dining services. Although most of the students were residents, there were a few commuters who felt their experiences were similar to that of the residents. One student stated, “…the commuters lounge is weird…people practice in there, watch TV and do random stuff there, it is very distracting.” Several students nodded in agreement when this student added, “They need to offer the commuters better activities to participate in, or at least give us a better lounge area.”
The hours of dining services during the school breaks is one topic that sparked a lot of conversation. A lot of students were dissatisfied with the quality of service they received during the Presidents Day break along with other school breaks. “Yeah, we didn’t have school, but I’m not sure why things aren’t open! Also, Dutch Treats for instance, the schedule said they would be open until 11PM, so why were they closed when I got there at 10:35PM on Sunday?” a student asked.
The lack of dining services over the break affects many international students as well since they stay on campus for most of the year. Some asked, “Are we to starve because we have to stay on campus and do not have the luxury of going home?”
Students also gave the panel suggestions of how they feel the school could be improved in certain areas such as “checking expiration dates of the food sold to students” and “[having quicker responses] from Public Safety when they are called for an emergency.”
Although this meeting was geared towards all students, few racial issues did arise as far as diversity on Hofstra’s campus and the intermixing of student organizations, but those concerns were not concentrated on for long.
At the end of the night the host informed students that part two of the Town Hall Meeting will take place in March. The new panel will have administrators that will answer to the students’ questions.
The basis of the meeting was to have the Hofstra student body recognize their “We Are Hosfstra” slogan and to realize that no changes will be made unless they speak up. NAACP Historian Tesi-Ann Morgan said, “This event was a great platform for students to voice their opinions without being scrutinized by [authority] figures. Hopefully next time more people will come out.”
The students quoted above asked for anonymity for this article.
-Shannon N. Alomar