On Oct. 10, UR President Joel Seligman hosted a Town Hall meeting to address issues and answer questions.

He opened with concern over the death of Latasha Shaw, an employee in UR Dining Services. Shaw was fatally stabbed Sept. 29 while breaking up a fight.

“The death of Latasha tears my heart out,” Seligman said. “She was truly appreciated by the University community.”

Seligman went on to say that Shaw played a prominent role in the River Campus Chapter of the Service Employees International Union. Her death inspired the union bargaining committee to continue her work, and the union dedicated its efforts to renegotiate contracts to her.

A main point of the meeting was the College’s strategic plan. A provisional draft will be presented to an advising committee in late November. It could then be adopted by March 2008. The focus of the draft is growth in the student body.

The typical freshman class size in recent years has ranged from 1,000 to 1,150. The plan is to increase the standards and then the size of the University in the next decade. The student body will be increased 25 percent to 5000 students.

Seligman is also advocating an increase in faculty.

“Some departments, such as political science, are well staffed,” he said. “However, we need more faculty to take on new programs. We want to maintain the ratio of faculty to students.” Seligman says he wants the University to stay relatively small compared to other research universities, but with the size increase, UR will need to provide sufficient facilities.

Seligman addressed the progress of Brooks Landing and a new college town for UR. Brooks Landing has four facilities projects. The hotel will open this spring and an office building will be built by 2008. An 8,000 square foot restaurant is also in the works. The River View apartments, which will be available to students, will be finished by August 2008. Student townhouses are also a possibility.

“It’s not a college town, but it’s the embryo of one,” Seligman said.

The college town development will be on the University-owned Mount Hope Corridor. The University would like to develop retail, housing, parking lots and potential academic space there. Construction is scheduled to begin in three years.

The expansions in student body and facilities will contribute to wider recognition of the University.

“Since hiring [Vice President of Communications] Bill Murphy, we’ve engaged in a full-scale renovation of communication,” Seligman said.

By networking with local and national media, the school is receiving more press.

“We are getting more press, but attention is something that needs analysis,” Seligman said.

The goal of the press surge is to attract distinguished faculty, alumni support and competitive applicants.

“I would like to see this University much better-known because we have wonderful stories to tell,” Seligman said.

The president also had his own views on the new mascot.

“The real controversy on campus is, of course, URBee,” Seligman said as he held up a stuffed URBee doll. “I have tried to be responsive to the aspirations of students and the faculty, but I am totally out of step. I like URBee. He doesn’t have to be menacing! But students have to do what they have to do.”

The president ended the meeting with an update on his battle with cancer. He said that he is optimistic. He showed the audience a picture of himself from the summer.

“This is what I really look like,” he said in jest. “I don’t know why my youthful hair had to be the first to go!”

Besides the hair, Seligman said that he is feeling no side effects of the chemotherapy. He is halfway through treatments and will soon undergo a PET scan, a diagnostic test that shows the presence and size of a tumor.

“The lump in my throat has already disappeared and, I hope by the PET scan, there will be nothing left,” Seligman said.

When asked how the meeting went, the President was confident. “As long as students can talk to me and feel comfortable in these meetings, it’s a success,” he said.

Schneier is a member of the class of 2011.



Confronting colorism is more complicated than we think

Even now, I remember thinking if such an extreme degree of caution was worth it, if paleness truly was enough to sacrifice the plain, irreplaceable pleasure of sunlight on bare skin.

Learning to say “I love you”

Grief is a fickle thing. One second, you feel fine, and the next it pierces the fibers of your soul with such precision you don’t know if you’re terrified or grateful of the feelings it elicits.

Life is pay to win. College? The giant paywall

For a game that preaches freedom of choice, there are an awful lot of decisions essentially made for us. Exhibit A: the decision to play at all.