ISS, Illini Union Board facilitate meetings between students, administrators and community leaders

Students will get the chance to meet with several top University administrators and local community leaders Thursday, including University president Michael Hogan, vice chancellor Richard Wheeler, and Champaign and Urbana mayors Don Gerard and Laurel Prussing.

This second annual meeting of the student body is co-sponsored by the Illinois Student Senate and the Illini Union Board. At 7 p.m. in Illini Union Room A, a group forum will give students the opportunity to ask University and community leaders any questions they may have regarding student affairs, campus safety, tuition or any other issue they may have.

“This type of setting is a perfect opportunity for all voices to be heard and considered,” said Damani Bolden, student senator and sophomore in ACES.

After an hour, the formal discourse will dissolve and the meeting will become more casual, said student body president David Pileski. He said this will encourage students and administrators to get to know each other and continue discussions about issues brought up in the first hour.

Pileski said he predicts several issues that may be brought up in during the meeting, including campus safety issues.

“I think a lot of students have questions about campus safety and what kinds of improvements have been made since last year,” he said.

Pileski also said he expects the recent internal investigation of the College of Law to be an issue students may bring up.

Diversity may also be a point of contention at the meeting, Bolden said.

“I think a pressing issue for our university community to discuss is the lack of diversity among the student body and administration,” he said.

Dean of Students Kenneth Ballom, University Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor and vice chancellors from research and student affairs will also be at the meeting, along with representatives from the College of LAS, Campus Recreation, Facilities and Services, the Illini Union, the LGBTQ Resource Center, the Tenant Union, La Casa and University Housing.

ISS vice president-external Sam Barghi said he hopes “students turn out and make their voices heard.”

“Chances to speak with upper-level administration, campus leaders and community leaders come few and far between, so for students to have an opportunity to hold these individuals accountable I think is fantastic,” he said.