Student concerns addressed at President Wilson’s town hall

Oyin Adedoyin, Staff Writer

The annual spring town hall meeting served as President David Wilson’s response to promises made at the fall semester town hall meeting. Students were surprised with announcements of upcoming changes.

Morgan State University’s dining contract with Thompson Hospitality is expiring in the spring of 2019. With help from student focus groups, Wilson has developed a contract that includes a 24-hour dining option for students at the Rawlings Residential Hall.   

“We are in the process of putting together a request for proposal [REP] …you [students] are the ones that use that service 95% of the time,” said Wilson. “We are going to ask anyone who bids on the contract to provide 24-hour dining in the Rawlings dining hall…it will be 24 hours, 7 days a week.”

Wilson did not announce potential bidders but ensured the student body that there are three student representatives on the evaluation committee. The new dining contract will be in effect Jun. 1, according to Wilson.

At the beginning of his presentation, Wilson emphasized his main priority of student success.

“We know at Morgan that we have systems that are still in the process of being perfected…you’re going to have that when you have an institution of 150 years and the state has not invested appropriately in that institution for decades.”

After hearing the negative feedback of students regarding the five-dollar printing credit for Wēpa printing kiosks, he proposed a new idea to automatically include printing money in tuition.

“We think we’ve heard the voices of the students and then we move in that direction and we hear from the students, ‘no this is not what we want’,” said Wilson. “Now we know that maybe our approach was not exactly what the students wanted…SGA proposed we wrap the fee for printing into tuition…you still pay but not at the point of printing. Is that the solution that you embrace?”

Jabray Franklin

With an overwhelming sound of agreement from the students in the crowd, Wilson conceded.

“We will move with the system the SGA is proposing.”

For graduating students, who will not be on campus long enough to reap the benefits of the changing policies, they were more concerned about the debated location of the 2019 commencement ceremony.

Wilson crushed rumors of commencement being held off campus after a question was proposed by biology major and graduating senior, Oladipo Adeuyan.

“I asked a commencement committee to simply explore what it would cost the University if we moved the commencement to the Royal Farms Arena downtown,” responded Wilson.

“Here are the plans now for commencement going forward, if it rains and it is just a torrential downpour we will still go with the separate ceremonies…however, we have made the decision that we are going to explore the covering of the individuals on the field, we are now looking to rent tents that will cover all of the graduates and all of the faculty regardless of weather.”

Adeuyan and other graduating seniors received the answer they had been looking for.

“I really wanted to make sure that commencement was at Hughes Stadium because that’s the only way I could ever imagine graduating,” said Adeuyan.

At last year’s fall town hall, Wilson announced plans to raze the Thurgood Marshall residential complex, scheduled for the end of the spring 2019 semester. These plans will be delayed for two more years for financial reasons, according to Wilson.

“We had made arrangements to close Thurgood Marshall at the end of spring semester…. however, the state of Maryland does not fund student housing…you [students] don’t pay enough to even come close to try to seek student housing.”

Until the raising of the complex, the University is exploring lease options for off-campus housing at the Varsity apartments on Biddle St.