Among many questions asked at the recent town hall meeting, one that seems most relevant over these past days was a concern questioning the lack of of communication between RPI’s administration and the students. President Shirley Ann Jackson’s response cited the communication routes available between students and the deans/vice presidents. In particular, reference was given to the semesterly Pizza with the Cabinet.
In light of this event and others where Jackson has touted increased communication between the students and her cabinet, The Poly was disappointed to find that the only attendees of RPI’s higher leadership at this semester’s Pizza with the Cabinet were Vice President for Student Life Timothy Sams; Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Mary Simoni; and Director of the Union Joe Cassidy.
Traditionally, Pizza with the Cabinet is a chance for students to mingle with top administrators, ask questions, and become more familiar with the inner workings of RPI from those most involved in the goals and changes down the line. With the current trying times at the Institute, especially in light of the Senate’s recent motion, important, intense, and clear communication between the administration and the students should be of the utmost importance. The Poly is disconcerted to see that the administration did not agree.
These recent developments directly contradict the sentiment expressed by Jackson on the importance of communication. In addition, these recent developments go against the confirmations made by several cabinet members that they would attend Pizza with the Cabinet. If the cabinet is upset and offended as official word claims, that is fine, but they could have used this opportunity to communicate and attempt to resolve issues they may have with the Senate, as well as issues general students have with the Institute. The Poly questions why silence was chosen as opposed to an open dialogue.
We are grateful that Sams attended the event to show that some parts of the administration continue to uphold its assurance to communicate with students. That being said, significant changes need to be made in the administration’s attitude as a whole before the “communication” currently available meets the standards promised before the Senate’s decision.