In light of recent events in both the residence halls and on campus, the Residence Hall Association hosted a town hall to encourage discussion about various topics.
The town hall hosted by RHA and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada allowed students to come share concerns regarding the state of the residence halls. The goal of the event was to address things on campus and in the residence halls, as well as to take action and make a stance.
University student and resident of Peavine Hall Gretchen Berg felt the town hall was an effective way to discuss solutions to problems happening in the residence halls.
“I thought the town hall was amazing and really important,” Berg said. “It was more of a discussion than anything, but I feel like it helped bounce around a couple really good ideas. I’m not sure how directly it will effect change, but it felt good to talk about it as a community and brainstorm possible solutions.”
Anti-semitism, racism and prejudice, ADA accessibility and sexual assault on campus were the primary agenda items. Attendees were broken into smaller groups to create a more intimate setting for a conversation.
Anti-semitism was focused on during the town hall due to a swastika that was carved into the wall of Peavine Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Due to the vandalism, a hate crime investigation was opened.
Attendees of the town hall said that people felt unsafe after this vandalism. One group called for transparency between the residence halls and residents as they are unsure if anything has been done or plans to be done to increase safety. Another group pointed out that although security cameras are in the front of the dorms, there aren’t many in the halls near residents’ rooms.
Students were asked to come up with precautions the residence halls could take to prevent hate crimes on campus. Among these were increased surveillance cameras, increased security, more education about other cultures and stricter discipline for hate crimes.
To increase education on different cultures, ASUN is planning a diversity and inclusion event to take place in April 2019. Some shared concerns that students may not attend the event as they may feel they don’t come from a diverse background.
ASUN Senator Mika Alvarez encouraged people to attend the event, as well as push others to go who may feel as though they are not of a diverse background.
In light of ongoing investigations regarding accessibility on campus, student discussed the state of accessibility on campus in their small groups. Many groups shared personal experiences regarding poor accessibility on campus, such as a student advising their father not to come to campus due to a disability that would make it hard for him to get around.
Groups also used their time in groups to point out that although the Pennington Student Achievement Center was only two years old, the ramp outside is too steep to be considered ADA accessible. In addition, students brought up ADA accessibility for the visually impaired, such as making Powerpoints with black text on a white background to help those with color-blindness.
Students shared that they felt ADA accessibility should be a necessity rather than an expense. They also called for maps with accessible routes on campus, updated building construction to meet compliance and further education about resources. Students were concerned that most accessible entrances were in the back of buildings.
Lastly, the town hall addressed sexual assault and harassment. Concerns included fear of walking around on campus due to worries of assault, sexual harassment and cat-calling. Students called for the stop of normalization of these events. In addition, students were frustrated with a lack of an administrative response.
Students also voiced wishes for there to be more “Girls On Guard” classes at the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center, as there is only one class offered weekly. Attendees also voiced concerns with the Title IX office, as they felt the current investigation process the Office of EOTIX uses is insufficient.
All groups voiced the importance of taking a proactive stance against racism, lack of ADA accessibility and sexual harassment and assault.