Skip to main content

Speeches and Writings 2019-20

SCU president O'Brien with students

SCU president O'Brien with students

Student Town Hall Follow Up

President Kevin O’Brien, S.J., and Interim Provost Lisa Kloppenberg welcomed all undergraduate students to a town hall to describe their leadership goals and priorities for our campus and our students.

President Kevin O’Brien, S.J. and Interim Provost Lisa Kloppenberg welcomed all undergraduate students to a town hall to describe their leadership goals and priorities for our campus and our students.

The following questions were submitted during the event, but not addressed in the question/answer session due to time constraints. Questions have been edited for space and clarity. 

With an increased number of international students each year, have you considered implementing a more cooperative plan to for move-out? Asking them to vacate with their belongings in a 12-hour window with nowhere to go is not viable. 

The policies associated with move-in and move-out are reviewed annually. The concern raised on behalf of international students will be added to the Housing and Residence Life Management Team November 6 meeting agenda.

As background on end-of-term departures, currently, at the end of fall and spring, there is a close date and time by which all students have to be out of the residence halls. For the fall term, it is a Friday at 9 p.m. For the spring term, it is a Thursday at 9 p.m. There is no required departure from residence halls at the end of the winter term, as we are open for spring break, unless a student has withdrawn from the university. In this case, they would need to check out by 9 p.m. on the last Friday of the winter finals.

Students may apply for a move-out extension based on travel or final exam scheduling challenges. If approved, this extension allows the resident to remain until the following day.

At the end of fall and spring terms, Residence Life staff are allowed to leave/be off-duty (exception for basketball student-athletes isolated to a specific group of rooms). As such, we must have all resident students vacate these buildings within these timeframes.

What values and plans do you want to bring to SCU from your past experiences? How do you plan to improve campus climate for students and faculty?

Provost Kloppenberg is a national expert in Conflict Resolution, and she brings that mindset to her work at SCU. As dean, she was dedicated to fostering a better climate at the School of Law, working with students, faculty, and staff on identifying concerns and addressing them in ways meaningful to the community.

As a Jesuit, I am committed to the care and formation of each person in their uniqueness in mind body and spirit. At the forum I spoke not simply about respecting each person but by reverencing them. This impacts how we treat each other. 

Provost Kloppenberg and I are committed to building a culture of deeper trust and transparency on campus. This includes offering clarity of communication and timely decision-making. For example, we have conducted town hall meetings with faculty, staff, and students. Building a healthy campus culture cannot be legislated but must be modeled by everyone. With colleagues on campus, we hope to offer a number of training programs related to building a deeper culture of trust and respect. See the following update on developments since the campus culture survey was published in spring 2019.

With the increase of students attending, is there a plan to hire more professors?

Santa Clara has a long-standing commitment to ensuring resources are deployed to promote student learning. On one level, Santa Clara works to ensure that there are appropriate faculty resources to support enrollment growth. The Provost’s Office has developed a formula to identify the need for new faculty lines which has allowed the University to increase the number of tenure-track faculty lines by 12.2% over the past seven years, while the student population has only grown by 4.4%.  

In what ways will you work to increase transparency in terms of listening to, and having the voices of students and workers heard campus wide? Furthermore, what will happen to increase financial transparency of spending?

We will hear students’ and employees’ concerns through the collaborative governance process and their representative organizations. Students participate in the collaborative governance process in a variety of ways: (1) the student life and athletics committee of the Board of Trustees, (2) Student Affairs - University Policy Committee (5 student representatives) (3) Academic Affairs—University Policy Committee. Additionally, Provost Kloppenberg and I will be engaging with students, faculty, and staff in various ways, including diversity forums, town halls, and visiting with student organizations, faculty departments, and staff offices. We plan on offering multiple opportunities for dialogue.

Why does tuition need to be so high and what specifically is it spent on?

The vast majority of the university’s revenue (more than 80%) comes from tuition and room and board. We try our best to keep increases to a minimum, and approximately 30% of tuition is spent directly on financial aid. The university’s largest expense each year (nearly 50%) is faculty and staff compensation—and the remainder goes towards everything from utilities, insurance, department operating budgets, increasing cost of compliance, campus safety, and debt payments. Additional investment is made annually to operate this larger, much more complex and beautiful campus environment which is essential for successful recruitment and alumni engagement. SCU’s annual revenues just cover its expenses, so increases to tuition are usually tied to increases in one or more of those expenses (i.e. increased services, programs, faculty/staff, etc).

Students are welcome to participate in an open budget forum hosted by the chief operating officer and vice president of finance and administration.

How do you plan to support students with disabilities on this campus, as they often lack representation, visibility, and resources?

To advance the priority of supporting strategies that allow students and employees with disabilities to experience success and inclusion at SCU, the following steps have been taken since May 2018:

  • To address the growing number of students accessing the Office of Accessible Education, a new staff position (Associate Director) was added.
  • In early September, we open a new consolidated office location with expanded testing and assistive technology capabilities.
  • The Disabilities Resources Office was rebranded to the Office of Accessible Education (OAE), to emphasize the office's mission and highlights accessibility, equity, and ability.
  • Expand outreach at high-visibility campus events (orientation, involvement fair, family weekend, Staff Faire, etc.).

Although we’ve made more progress, we acknowledge there is more work to do.