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Kerwin Addresses Student Concerns During Open Forum

By Adrienne Frank

 AU President Neil Kerwin fielded a variety of questions from students during the April 28 open forum, addressing everything from swine flu to plans for the old SIS building.

Many of the students raised their hands with concerns about the ROTC program. As the number of cadets has doubled to 35 in the last year–with a record number of freshmen projected to join the program in the fall–the students requested access to AU fields and facilities and use of the university’s van fleet.  

Kerwin seemed amenable to the students’ requests and instructed them to submit their proposal to both the provost and the Office of Campus.

During the 45-minute town hall meeting, which drew more than 50 members of the campus community, Kerwin also addressed:

  • A working group has formed to gather information about the swine flu. Provost Scott Bass and Sara Dumont, director of AU Abroad, are also monitoring the situation in Mexico, where four students are studying this semester.
  • AU will likely participate in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Calling the Veterans Affairs program, which enables universities to fund tuition expenses for veterans, “superb,” Kerwin said AU’s “level of participation” has yet to be determined.
  • It’s likely that fewer transfer students will be housed at The Georgian apartment building in Silver Spring next semester, as Kerwin hopes to find room for them on the main campus and Tenley. “It’s not optimal to have transfer students who need housing from the university to be housed that far away,” he said.
  • Despite a student’s suggestion, Kerwin said the old SIS building is not the place for an alumni hall. As about 40 percent of AU alumni live within 25 miles of campus, Kerwin said a “dedicated gathering place for alumni” is among the university’s priorities.

AU Board of Trustees chairman Gary Abramson and vice chairman Thomas Gottschalk were also in attendance. The next open forum is slated for October.