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SGA Town Hall on Athletics & Student Involvement

By Alex Espinosa & Angelique D’Alessandro

Staff Writer, Executive Editor

The Student Government Association held their second Town Hall panel of the fall semester on Tuesday, Nov. 13, focusing on the topics of athletics and student involvement.

The panel included senior associate director of LIU Promise Joseph Vernace, dean of students Michael Berthel, university athletic director Debbie DeJong, and director of recreational sports Rick Hamilton. Approximately ten students were in attendance.

Panel (L-R): Rick Hamilton, Debbie DeJong, Michael Berthel and Joseph Vernace

Many of the questions focused on the changes to the athletic department resulting in the OneLIU merger.

One student asked what would happen to the Pratt Recreation Center once most indoor sports move to the Brooklyn campus.

The panel did not answer the question with specifics. Instead, Hamilton responded by saying the absence of indoor sports will be positive for students. “[Students will have] the ability to come in and use the space more often than they’ve been able to over the past 15 years,” he said.

Berthel also felt the newly free space in the Pratt will be a positive for the campus. “From a student life perspective, we’re excited to get more access to the space,” he said. “We’re constantly trying to fit in events like Pratt After Dark, Midnight Madness, Move-A-Thon and Relay for Life.”

When asked about Greek Life expansion on campus, Vernace said that there were no current caps on the possible size of fraternities or sororities.

“We don’t have a cap on Greek Life. As our enrollment continues to grow, as more and more start continuing LIU, especially with going D1 and having that prestige of the University, enrollment in theory should increase,” Vernace said. “Greek life should increase, so your chapter sizes should get bigger and bigger.

Erica Ferrara, a senior geology and environmental sustainability major and vice president of SGA, acted as the facilitator of the event.

Erica Ferrara, vice president of SGA, facilitated the
town hall meeting

When asked how SGA and the administration plan to respond to comments brought up by students, Ferrara said there are many avenues by which a solution could be reached.

“We contact the appropriate administrator and see what they can do about the specific concern. If it’s a personal issue, we immediately have that students’ email sent to the administrator and they’re contacted,” she said. “We’re [also] doing a QR code, where students can log in to a comment form and students can fill in an anonymous comment.”

In response to student concerns over the OneLIU merge, Ferrara said events like the town hall series are vital to address student concerns.

“A lot of [students] have come to us with [concerns] and we’ve been working with athletics. That’s why we have a town hall like this, just so athletes and people who are concerned about athletes can come and ask questions,” she said.

The next town hall meeting is on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 12:20 p.m. in the Krasnoff Theater, and will cover academics.

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