Student Senate 10/16: Guest Speakers Iuliano, Ehrlich and Bookwala Address Student Concerns

By Ella Prieto, Managing and News Editor 

The Student Senate meeting on 10/16. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

The Student Senate meeting on 10/16. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Officer Reports 

President of the Student Body Andrew Lemon ’24 discussed the past Homecoming Weekend. 

“I had so much fun at Homecoming weekend. Thank you to everyone who put on such great events,” said Lemon.

Vice President of the Student Body Geoffrey Meadville ’25 reminded clubs that they must have their representative listed on EngageGettysburg to count for attendance. He also shared that there have been issues of attendance in the committees, which were addressed later in the meeting. Finally, Meadville addressed the Senate as the Vice President of the Student Body rather than the presiding officer President of the Student Senate to ask for respect during the guest speakers’ discussion.

“I understand that a lot of people are here tonight and they have a lot of opinions that they want to say,” stated Meadville. “I would like to remind you that every person in this room deserves respect, and if I feel that respect is not given or received, I will ask you to leave. It is very important to me that you are respectful of everyone’s positions and you are respectful of yourselves and others.”

Parliamentarian Michael Woods ’25 shared that new policy will be coming to the floor next week. 

Treasurer Alfredo Román Jordán ’26 provided a budget update. The Student Senate has allocated $16,010 and spent $3,106.

Secretary Grace Nelson ’26 announced that the Student Senate Open will be on Oct. 21 and have a Masquerade theme. 

Inclusion Officer Abby Ruggiero ’26 addressed the conflict in the Middle East.

“Our thoughts are with our Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian students and those affected by the conflict,” she said. 

Guest Speakers 

This meeting’s guest speakers were President Bob Iuliano and Vice President of College Life Anne Ehrlich. Provost Jamila Bookwala attended as well. The trio began with a presentation they gave last week in a student leader meeting. It covered the current state of the college and the student experience of the future. The floor was then opened to questions. 

Students looking at slides in the presentation. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Students looking at slides in the presentation. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Senator Jack Murphy ’24 launched the discussion by thanking Iuliano for coming to the meeting. He then asserted that he had spoken to various faculty members who felt they were not properly consulted about the closing of the Gettysburg Review, and he asked Iluiano to address that.

Iuliano said there are constraints on what he can share, but that it was ultimately a personnel decision on when faculty were notified. He did share, however, that the cost of running the Gettysburg Review at $1.2 million over the past four to five years was equivalent to ten to eleven students’ full tuition. Therefore, they decided to close the Review to save money in a tradeoff. 

A student then asked about a point in their presentation, when Bookwala stated that they are hoping for more tenured faculty to teach 100 and 200-level courses. The student inquired if this will affect the number of 300 and 400-level courses that will run. 

Bookwala answered that they are looking at changes in delivering the curriculum. This could lead to 300 and 400-level courses being offered less frequently if they are evaluated as unnecessary. The college hopes that this will allow money to be saved. 

Iluiano then asked Bookwala to explain what a provost does, as he worried that some students did not know. 

Provost Jamila Bookwala addressing those in the audience at the 10/16 Student Senate Meeting. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Provost Jamila Bookwala addressing those in the audience at the 10/16 Student Senate Meeting. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

“The provost is responsible for the academic division, that is the educational mission of the College, the students, their learning, making sure we are meeting their learning assessment goals, our faculty, our support staff within the academic divisions,” said Bookwala. “So our entire purpose of being in the academic division is to make sure our students are getting an excellent education and to make sure our faculty and our support staff are supported by us.”

Service Affinity Group Leader Ethan Avecedo ’26 then commented on the value of adjunct and visiting professors, stating that some of his best professors fell in those categories. He expressed worry over those professors not teaching any courses at the College and asked what the future would be for the current adjunct and visiting professors teaching at the school.

Bookwala answered that visiting professors are typically only here for one to two years, so their contracts will stay the same. Adjuncts can be special cases, and she recognized that many have special expertise. Thus, they are speaking with department chairs about what adjunct professors they would like to keep so that ones of extreme value will continue to teach.

Next, a student asked for clarification on a rumor that people are willing to buy or pay for the funding of the Gettysburg Review. Iuliano answered that no one has put forth such an offer, but if they did, the college would review it as they do anything else.

Senator Joey Labrie ’25 commented that he viewed the Administration as making various decisions without consulting students first. He cited choices such as stopping off-campus housing, the closing of the Gettysburg Review and the imminent closure of the Gettysburg Observatory. 

Iuliano first asserted that there is no plan to close the Gettysburg Observatory, and he was not sure where that rumor started. Ehrlich then commented that while they want and value student feedback, not all decisions can be based on that.

“Rumors fill space in an absence of fact. We don’t have a whole lot of facts about the restructuring, and all the things we have been talking about, in a concrete way yet. And I know that’s frustrating, but that frustration is the price we pay for input. So we have been purposefully slowing down, coming to you, we’ve had many meetings with staff and faculty, and we’ll have many more and we’ll have more with you, about the choices we make,” said Ehrlich. 

She elaborated, “Your input is necessary for hard decisions. Although with all due respect, not every decision is. At the end of the day, we have a job to run a college, and some decisions warrant student input, a lot of them do, but some of them just can’t.”

Treasurer Román Jordán questioned how financial aid would be affected by the smaller incoming class of students. Iuliano answered that financial aid may go down, but they will be able to use endowments more per student thanks to the smaller number of students attending the College.

Political Affinity Group Leader Samantha Martin ’24 questioned why the administration has not been clear on details such as the cost to run the Gettysburg Review and the possible closing of departments, sharing that students have been in distress over the latter.

“Part of the point of coming [here], and having these conversations, and The Gettysburgian is here, they’ve interviewed me, they’ve interviewed [Provost] Jamila, we’ve had sessions with faculty, students, staff…The goal of being out there is to hear what questions you all have and then for us to answer them as best as we can,” said Iuliano. 

President Iuliano addressing the audience at the 10/16 Student Senate meeting. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

President Iuliano addressing the audience at the 10/16 Student Senate meeting. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Bookwala then declared that no academic department is in danger of closing. There have been conversations about the language departments possibly combining, but that is still a discussion ongoing with the faculty in those departments. 

Another student conveyed worry over budget cuts to the biology and chemistry departments. Bookwala maintained that there has been no cutting of operation budgets to the chemistry or biology departments. However, they have discussed being more cost-effective by staggering labs and increasing faculty who teach labs rather than adjunct professors. 

President Bob Iuliano (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

President Bob Iuliano (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Iuliano also chimed in, stating, “We are first and foremost an academic institution that is about making sure that the quality of the classroom and beyond education that you get here are top shelf. We’re going to do nothing as an institution that diminishes the effectiveness of the education.”

A student then mentioned that various students and alumni have protested the closing of the Gettysburg Review, including the fact that a petition to save it has amassed over 2,000 signatures, and the student asked why it was closed if so many in the Gettysburg College community valued it.

Iuliano said the principal factor in closing the Review was that it was evaluated as not impacting students as much as other programs that they are hoping to continue and grow, such as financial aid.

Senator Gabe Taub ’25 asked why the Education Department no longer exists, which Iuliano answered was because too many faculty departures led to the department not being able to stay together. 

Senator Dominic DiLuzio ’26 asked if there could be a guarantee that Iuliano would return to the Senate. He answered that he leaves that to Lemon and the senators to decide how often he should visit, but that he welcomes these conversations and enjoys them.

A student then asked if the College has a budgetary plan in place in case Pennsylvania raises the minimum wage. Iuliano said if the minimum wage was raised the College would comply, and that they would work through the implications.

The same student also inquired if the College measures faculty satisfaction and retention. Iuliano said they do, through various surveys throughout their time here as well as an exit survey when they leave.

Students listening to the presentation by President Iuliano, Dean Ehrlich, and Provost Bookwala. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Students listening to the presentation by President Iuliano, Dean Ehrlich, and Provost Bookwala. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

A different student asked how the College would respond to students who feel lied to or misled due to the previously advertised class sizes being increased. Bookwala answered that the class sizes will not increase by a significant amount, and this is something that all Colleges are dealing with. 

The last question was posed by Senator Belle Pedersen ’24, who asserted that she had rarely seen Iuliano on campus and questioned why his campus presence is so low. 

“I came here in part to spend time with students, but my other job responsibility is to be out on the road, talking about what’s happening here. So more often than not, I am off-campus talking to alumni, talking to members of the government, talking to prospective donors, trying to create the resources that make this College what it is,” said Iuliano. 

He also stated there is a value to meeting with students, and is working on how to more effectively communicate with students. 

Committee Reports

The Academic and Career Affairs (ACA) Committee will be meeting with Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Jeanne Hamming this Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Breidenbaugh Writing Center. 

The College Life and Advisory Committee is continuing to work on a soft-serve ice cream machine in Servo and is sending out a survey about general dining-related concerns.

The Inclusion Committee will be discussing policy this week on Friday in the Penn Hall large board room from 2-3 p.m. 

The Opinions Committee is discussing changing the final exam schedule this week on Thursday in CUB 126.

Club Reports and Announcements 

The American Cancer Society is hosting Pub Trivia this Thursday.

The Campus Wide Policy Debate is occurring this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Atrium. 

The STEM Formal is on Nov. 4 in The Attic

The Theater Department is putting on PROM! the first weekend of Nov. in Majestic Theater.

Student Concerns 

Lemon stated that recent academic concerns will be discussed in the ACA meeting this week with the Associate Provost.

Meadville addressed the Senate as Vice President of the Student Body, expressing concerns over senators’ use of time limits. 

A student asked for the Gettysburg Smoothie Company’s hours and menu to be put on Dining Service’s website. 

Senators reported there was a chipmunk in the library and a small rodent in Servo over the past week. 

Religious Affinity Group Leader Thomas Lynch IV ’24 spoke on behalf of the Jewish students who do not feel safe on this campus. They also feel that the College issued an inadequate response to the conflict occurring in Israel. 

Senator and Hillel House Leader Gabe Taub ’25 elaborated on this issue, saying Jewish students have reported not feeling safe, and the College has not provided additional resources. Hillel requested a Campus Safety Officer during Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah, but one was not provided. They were also not included in the discussions of the silent vigil occurring this week. 

Lemon and Dean of Students Jeff Foster both assured they will work to address this issue. 

Academic Affinity Group Leader Ritik Sarraf ’26 reported he does not feel included in his classes, which Foster and Lemon also said they would address. 

Budget Requests

The 2023 Burgburst Budget was unanimously fully funded for $11,700.

Old Business

The Equivalent Event Amendment was tabled so it can be seen in the context of the trip policy that is coming to the floor next week.

New Business 

The Senate discussed poor committee attendance which has been an issue throughout the semester. After bouncing ideas back and forth, such as assigning senators to certain committees, the discussion was tabled.

The Gettysburg College Student Senate for the 2023-2024 academic year. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

The Gettysburg College Student Senate for the 2023-2024 academic year. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Author: Ella Prieto

Ella Prieto ’26 serves as the Managing Editor for the Gettysburgian. Previously, she worked as the News Editor, the Assistant News Editor, and as a staff writer for the News and Arts & Entertainment sections. Ella is a double major in Public Policy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a Writing Minor. On campus, Ella volunteers with the Casa Swim program, is an It’s On Us Fellow in the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX, and is the President of the Panhellenic Council. She loves to read and keep up with celebrity drama in her free time.

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