Student group begins petition requesting open meetings with university President


Patrick Kernan, Managing Editor

In the wake of flyers being placed around campus aiming to make the people of Marywood aware of the university’s financial situation, a group of students calling themselves Students for a Better Marywood have put together a petition aiming to make information more readily available from administration.

The petition opens with the following text: “We, the students of Marywood, petition Sr. Anne Munley, the Board of Trustees, and other leaders on campus to assemble an open dialogue to address the following concerns that the student body, faculty, and staff have brought to our attention.”

The petition goes on to implore “more transparency” from administration for a variety of topics, including the financial status of the university, accreditation issues, and safety issues on campus.

Randy England, a senior management and finance major who is a member of the group, explained the reasoning behind the petition.

“The recent flyers sort of brought some things up that a lot of people were shocked to hear,” England said. “And we thought, as students, we want to know more information. That’s our main purpose of the petition: to get information.”

England added that his goal with this petition was not to attempt to change anything on campus, but rather to make students aware of the situation.

“Our goal is to have the administration have an open dialogue with anyone who wants to be a part of it,” England said. “It just seems that students have been misinformed or under-informed…everyone is tired of it.”

Joseph Duda, a junior philosophy major who is also part of Students for a Better Marywood, expressed similar concerns.

“I felt like the money that students paid to come here is being tossed around in an unreasonable fashion,” Duda said. “It would be nice, as a sort of consumer of education, to have some sort of input into where my money goes.”

Melissa Kowalski, a junior international business and Spanish double major and president of Marywood’s Student Government Association (SGA), said that SGA is already in a position to access the kind of information the petition is aiming to make open.

“SGA already has these connections [with administration]; you don’t have to build them up,” Kowalski said of the petition’s goals.

Kowalski went on to explain these connections. She said that she meets with Sr. Anne monthly in order to exchange information.

“Most universities don’t let the student government president meet with the university president.”

When Kowalski explained to the petition organizers SGA’s position to access the information they are seeking, she said that the organizers refused to be involved with SGA.

“They didn’t give me any reason,” Kowalski said. “I’m highly confused by this.”

England declined to comment on Kowalski’s claim.

Kowalski admits that the petition may have arisen from SGA’s previous lack of presence on campus.

“We had a plan to come out on campus with a strong presence this semester,” Kowalski said.

Because of a change of date for SGA’s new member training to Sept. 13, SGA was not able to come out with as strong of a presence as previously hoped.

“We normally train around five days before the semester starts,” Kowalski said. “We decided to move the date because of the budget cuts.”

According to Kowalski, the next SGA meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. in Room B in the Swartz Center. She encourages all students to attend.

“Keep an eye out for SGA, and stay informed,” Kowalski said.

According to England, the group’s membership is currently between six and eight members, and, as of time of writing, the petition has received almost 150 signatures.

UPDATE: As of Sept. 17, the petition has almost 300 signatures. This information comes via Sam Williams, senior sociology major, who is also involved in the organization of the petition.

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