On Thursday, Nov. 12, the Student Association (SA) hosted a gathering of Harding administration for a town hall meeting to discuss issues around campus concerning students. SA President Kyle Johnson, President Bruce McLarty and officials from parking, student life and Aramark, among other departments, were present to field the questions and concerns from students.
Deputy Director of Parking and Transportation Wayne Westerholm addressed the topic of parking changes with the expansion of the Rhodes-Reaves Fieldhouse. According to Westerholm, the expansion will result in a loss of 20 to 30 parking spots with no plan to replace those spots at this time.
One student posed the idea that, with the expansion of the parking lot in front of the David B. Burks American Heritage Building, the no overnight parking restriction could be removed from the parking lot behind the men’s dorm Graduate Hall.
“That lot is the most centrally located parking lot for commuters,” Westerholm said. “Therefore we have no plans to lift the no overnight parking restriction due to the convenience for commuters.”
Westerholm also clarified that red parking spots are only available to students after 5:30 p.m. and that the money collected from parking violation fees goes to the Harding general fund.
One student asked for an explanation of the basis behind the no alcohol policy as well as the basis for punishment of students who possess alcohol. Dean of Students Zach Neal said there are blurred lines between drinking and being drunk, which causes a problem, especially concerning safety.
“Is it possible to change the policy and for Harding to look good? Yes,” Neal said. “But is it also possible to change the policy and for Harding to look bad? Yes.”
Another student brought up the idea that there are not many recreational hangout spots for students on campus other than dorm lobbies or the student center. Director of Campus Life Logan Light said that increasing these recreational areas is something they are always working to pursue.
“We are constantly trying to adjust to the student body and the growing size of the university,” Light said.
McLarty said that with the expansion of the Ganus Athletic Center (GAC), many more recreational areas and activities will be made available for students, including rooms with ping pong and foosball tables. McLarty predicts that the expansion will make the GAC “the single biggest hangout spot on campus.”
Sophomore female representative and chairman of the student life committee Monica Giles, officiated the town hall discussion and promoted it to the student body.
“I think (the town hall meeting is) really important for the students who think it is important to them − the ones that want to know what’s going on at our university and the ones that want their voices heard,” Giles said. “It’s also important for the administrators to hear what is on the students’ mind and to get insight into our views.”