By Lauren Beeman
Quincy University’s Student Government Association sponsored a town-hall meeting on October 20 to discuss a recent faculty vote of no confidence for President Robert Gervasi. The event was held in the Hawk’s Hangout and began at 8 p.m.
Megan Boccardi, moderator of the general assembly and Assistant Professor of History, represented the faculty at the meeting.
Christine Tracy, director of the Student Success Center, Soumitra Ghosh, vice-president of student enrollment and engagement, and Matt Bergman, director of development, alumni and community relations, represented the administration.
“There are a lot of things happening on campus and there are a lot of things going on in the news and the community that have created a lot of questions, so an informal gathering allows us to have a conversation,” Ghosh said.
The first topic discussed centered on the general assembly and an overview about the vote of no confidence and what it means.
Boccardi told students that the general assembly allows professors to maintain a voice in how the university is run, and that the vote of no confidence constitutes a veto power for the GA.
The GA is made up of 48 full-time faculty members.
Boccardi explained that the vote of no confidence was intended to reflect a level of concern and unhappiness regarding Gervasi’s presidency and the way the university is being governed. QU’s present financial situation inspired the discussion and the vote of no confidence.
“This is not something faculty usually does. It’s not very common. It is really something faculty does because they see a reason for expressing concern,” Boccardi said.
QU was predominantly funded by friars until the 1990s.
The financial concerns of the university are now demanding more attention than before, which spurred the Board of Trustees to shift Gervasi’s duties.
Gervasi’s efforts will now center upon fundraising for the university, while recently appointed Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tom Ponto, will handle other administrative responsibilities. This structure is new to QU.
“Dr. Gervasi is a great fundraiser, and we are really happy that he is going to stay on in this role, but we need someone to come in to help us with the other things as well,” Boccardi said.
As the meeting progressed, students expressed concerns about the future of QU to which Ghosh reassured students that the university was not going to close.
“This is an institution with a really rich history and major accomplishments and has continued to be that way. It has a long history and will continue to have a long future,” Ghosh said.
Sydney Allen, sophomore, felt positive about the discussion that took place.
“I thought the meeting was incredibly reassuring. The vote of no confidence mentioned finances and that makes everyone worry, but it is reassuring to know that the administration is trying to be proactive in this financial situation,” Allen said.