Students get answers on wellness

Newswire photo by Ryan Kambich | BDA delivered on their transparency focused platform by hosting their first Community Discussion on Monday. The panel of administrators, staff and health experts answered students’ questions on safety and well-being.

The Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its first monthly Community Discussion on Monday, bringing together a panel of administrators to speak to the campus about student wellness and safety.

SGA executives Blair McKee, Desmond Varner and Alfredo Mercedes were joined by Xavier Vice President for Risk Management Jeff Coleman, XUPD Lieutenant Shawn Bryce, Dean of Students Jean Griffin, TriHealth Wellness Coordinator Kaity Rowe and Chief Student Affairs Officer Dr. Dave Johnson to take questions from students assembled on the ground floor of Gallagher Student Center.

The panel fielded questions on a number of topics related to wellness and safety, including the expansion of mental health services in the forthcoming Health United Building (HUB), emergency alerts from XUPD and resources for sexual health on campus.

Notably, students in the crowd posed a number of questions about the nicotine free campus policy currently under consideration by the administration.

Griffin and Johnson affirmed that resources would be made available to help individuals on campus who currently smoke to quit before the proposed policy would go into effect on July 1.

Furthermore, Griffin and Coleman explained that they did not expect police resources to be diverted to enforcement of the policy and away from other needs throughout the campus community. “We see this as a supportive policy to help support members of the community make choices about their health,” Griffin said.

The current SGA executives made commitment to transparency a major area of emphasis while they were on the campaign trail last fall. Community discussions such as Monday’s were laid out in their campaign platform.

“We’re not going to move the university forward, we’re not going to move the student body forward if we can’t be honest and open with each other,” SGA Vice President Varner said following the event. “Accountability is a two-way street. We can only go halfway, and if the administration isn’t as accountable as we are as students, it’s not fair.”

Varner sees Community Discussions as a way for the current SGA Executives to fulfill their duties to students.

“We all recognize that there’s this gap, especially in terms of knowledge, insight and input,” Varner said. “The whole point of us being here is to bridge that gap, especially in terms of students receiving meaningful information about how they can navigate through these next couple years.”

Varner seemed pleased with the first community discussion. “Students showed up, they weren’t afraid to ask tough questions and administrators weren’t afraid to be honest with us and be transparent. If we’re really trying to improve Xavier, that’s where we need to go.”

SGA hopes to host community discussions each month this semester.

By: Ryan Kambich | Opinions & Editorials Editor