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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Student listening session highlights UCity student concerns

UCity students attended a listening session organized by St. Joe’s administration, where students could voice their concerns about the merger. PHOTO: ALLIE MILLER ’24/ THE HAWK

A listening session to address students’ questions and concerns was hosted Sept. 9 on the University City campus.

Representatives from the offices of Student Life, Information Technology (IT) and Academic Affairs addressed pre-submitted student questions for the first half of the meeting before taking questions from students present. 

Twenty-three administrators and 35 students attended the session. Topics covered included the shuttle system, IT issues, student finances and registration conflicts.

Many students attended the session to clear up confusion they were having regarding the merger, said Anna Drudy ’26.

“There’s been a lot of confusion about the merger and a lack of communication overall from administration,” Drudy said. “I was looking to get questions answered face-to-face and get more of an idea of what’s actually going on and what’s going to be coming in the future.”

One big concern among members of the student body on the UCity campus is the shuttle system, said Sydney Swope ’23, president of the Student Government Association (SGA) on the UCity campus. 

During the session, multiple students expressed concerns about the current shuttle system, which they said have not been arriving at their scheduled times or have left students resorting to Uber rides to get to the Hawk Hill campus.

Another major concern, Swope said, is maintaining a culture and identity for students at UCity who did not commit to St. Joe’s.

“We lost a lot of members from our community, a lot of professors and other advisors who made clubs and certain majors,” Swope said. “They really developed these majors throughout the past couple years. I feel like our identity is something that students are really just missing.”

Swope said some of what feels like a cultural divide is also a result of the differences between The University of the Sciences and St. Joe’s as institutions. 

“St. Joe’s is a religious institution and USciences was a science institution, and a lot of times you see conflict with those two cultures,” Swope said.

Veronia Rateb ’24, who attended the session, said while the differences are noticeable in the campus cultures, and she navigated significant challenges over the summer trying to replace classes that had been canceled, there are some advantages to the merger.

“So here, we’re obviously science based,” Rateb said. “Everyone here is taking a

science course every single semester, math, science, all that stuff. We never even had an art class, for example, whereas Hawk Hill does, which is amazing, because I love art. So I’m excited to take that next semester.”

Communication from administrators to the student body has been a struggle and needs to be improved, acknowledged Ross Raddish, J.D., interim vice president of

Student Life, who led the session and fielded questions from students.

“I’ve always been someone who wants to hear from students,” Raddish said. “I

believe in the student body. I thought this was a very important thing to do so students feel connected and included at the university.”

Swope said the listening session made her feel that her voice is being heard. 

“Change is not going to be immediate, but I really do think they are listening to us, and they’re addressing the concerns,” Swope said. “I just feel like right now there’s too many concerns and not enough hands to be able to handle them in a timely manner that students want to see them. It is an adjustment period, and it will take a while to adjust, unfortunately.”

Getting direct feedback from students is the best and most meaningful way to make changes for the students, said Mark Bullock, J.D., associate dean of students.

“I think now we are starting to hear some feedback that we hadn’t heard before, and we will continue to solicit feedback from the students to be able to better target what the issues are,” Bullock said. “We can address them in a more targeted way.”

Eric Lalu ’25, SGA’s vice president of organizational development, said he is hopeful.

“Obviously we have some work to do, so there’s a lot of stuff that we need ironed out,” Lalu said. “But I’m hopeful things will get better by the end of next semester.”

Natalie Brislin ’23 contributed to this story.

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Allie Miller
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