Your school, your questions

Administrators respond to concerns about campus safety, diversity

By Heather Gast | Managing Editor

Newswire photo by Jaeden Crawford

The Student Government Association’s (SGA) Your School Your Questions event entered its fourth year on Tuesday. This year’s iteration of the panel of administrators was the first to take place during the fall semester and was also the first without Father Michael Graham, president, who could not be in attendance due to a death in the family.

Even with Graham’s absence, the panel had a record five members: Vice President for Financial Administration and Chief Business Officer Phil Chick, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Janice Walker, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Melissa Baumann, Associate Provost and Chief Student Affairs Officer Dave Johnson and Vice President of Risk Management Jeff Coleman.

The evening began with categorized questions concerning housing, diversity and accessibility and campus accessibility that SGA Executives BDA had collected and ended with questions submitted by the audience.
Live-tweets from the event can be found on the official Newswire account, @xaviernewswire.


The university is still in the planning process for a new dorm building between Buenger Hall and Kuhlman Hall. The dorm is still in the design phase and administrators are evaluating cost estimates, according to Chick. No final decisions will be made on the residence hall until spring 2020.

Diversity and Accessibility

Baumann emphasized that the provost’s office was adamantly striving to hire, retain and grant tenure to faculty members of color in order to better represent the campus community.

A full-time coordinator has been hired for the Smooth Transitions orientation program, which has now evolved into a year-long mentorship program for under-represented first-year students.

Xavier is one of five Jesuit instituitions to have completed the Campus Pride Index, a survey evaluating the university’s policies relating to LGBTQ students and faculty (see page 3 for more details).

While Xavier has been vocal in support of immigration and protecting the rights of immigrants, the university is not a sanctuary campus due to legal nuances according to Johnson.

The new residence hall will have expanded accessibility dorms.

The Xavier website will be undergoing an overhaul in the next six months for ADA web compliance

Campus Safety

The Xavier University Police Department has worked to put together an active shooter awareness video that has been integrated into GOA and will be re-shot as per student feedback.

There have been four active-shooter trainings this semester and Coleman specified that there will be two to four trainings each month open to students, staff and faculty.

The university will be hiring an Assistant Chief of Police and a Director of Environmental Health, which was a position that was last in place ten years ago.

Audience Questions

Campus administration will be doing more work as this year moves forward through campus initiatives to ensure a healthy campus climate that protects free speech and ensures the safety of the campus community during the 2020 election cycle.

The university currently owns the Norwood Plaza lot across from the commuter lots and will be integrating the property into Xavier parking after the lone tenant of the plaza’s strip mall lease expires in coming years.
When the Health United Building opens for the spring semester, there will be unprecedented university employee wellness initiatives alongside student wellness intiatives.

The university will be creating a cybersecurity undergraduate major and is currently investing in lab space.