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Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/THE SPECTATOR

Students question VSU President about the university’s future

Written by Bryce Ethridge, Asst. Entertainment Editor

The Student Government Association held up its promise by holding a forum with President Richard Carvajal where students could ask any question without having to go through an appointment.

Dr. Carvajal brought along Vice President Vincent Miller for subjects Carvajal wasn’t sure of.

Although the event did not have a big turnout (only 21 students attended with the exception of SGA members), certain students brought up their issues about how VSU’s Police Department has handled their calls.

“It’s almost like if your issue isn’t something that piques their interest, it’s kind of like they’re not real issues,” Kaylyn Turner, a sophomore, said.

Turner said UPD has belittled or laughed at issues they deemed unimportant in the past. She also said while she may not be concerned for her own safety, parents may not feel the same way about the subject.

Tia Lewis, a senior, said UPD can be intimidating.

“I’ve honestly seen some crazy things on-campus, but I’m not comfortable speaking to UPD about it,” Lewis said.

At the forum, freshman Kayla Larry gave her account of when she called UPD.

“I felt that a lot of times I was kind of down-talked [sic] to because of my race,” Larry said.

She also said the officers that responded to her call took her issues as a joke and used an unpleasant tone when speaking to her.

Dr. Carvajal responded by saying that if UPD acts this way toward students, they need to speak up about it.

“When going through these situations tell somebody,” Dr. Carvajal said. “We can’t hold folks accountable unless we know about them.”

He also said he wants to encourage students to go to the Department of Diversity and Inclusion and be specific about what happened in their situation.

“No matter what’s going on, I want you to step up, and I want you to tell somebody what occurred,” Dr. Carvajal said. “If you didn’t know, I’m Hispanic. I know what it’s like to be different and to suffer.”

Dr. Carvajal said while the statistics of the crime rate were low, that didn’t mean there is no crime on campus. He also said he is putting his trust into the new police chief to weed out officers who have been handling situations poorly.

Various members of student organizations took the time to come out to the meeting in order to ask about where their organization’s future is headed and to address their feelings of being left behind by the president.

“We can’t be what you want us to be if you don’t support us,” Sen. D’layna Jonas said.

Jonas spoke on behalf of the band and said due to budget cuts and small practice areas, the band has not been able to attend many away games or play at events around campus.

“They (the band budget) have been reduced more than other organizations around campus,” Jonas said.

Dr. Carvajal said he looked through all of the band’s equipment and practice areas and budget plans for the next five years are all in the fine arts.

Dr. Miller revealed to the audience that the offices for student organizations in the Student Union will be taken away and replaced with the Office of Student Life, which will handle budgets amongst other things involving student organizations.

“We have no interest in turning our backs on any organization,” Dr. Miller said.

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