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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Young and Fierke field questions from students at SGA town hall

University+President+Michael+K.+Young+and+Provost+Carol+Fierke+answered+questions+about+graduation%2C+transportation%2Csexual+assault+and+traditions+at+a+town+hall+Wednesday+evening.
Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

University President Michael K. Young and Provost Carol Fierke answered questions about graduation, transportation,

sexual assault and traditions at a town hall Wednesday evening.

Looking to connect students and administration across campus, the Texas A&M Student Government Association hosted a town hall where University President Michael Young and Provost Carol Fierke answered questions from the student body.
The event was the first time the provost and university president were brought together to address student questions in person. SGA preselected questions about academics, traditions and other subjects from those that were submitted to them through a Google Form. 
Graduation and Retention 
SGA vice president of programming Madi Telschow moderated the event and asked the administration what steps the university has taken to increase four-year graduation rates and first-generation college student retention rates.
“This year, we set up a student success task force whose goal is to increase first-year retention, four-year graduation rates, six-year graduation rates and help us become a Hispanic-serving institution,” Fierke said. “That task force is going to have its recommendations in the next month, and we are going to implement them in 2019. Certainly our first generation students are a group of students that we see succeed less well than other groups, so that will be a concern — what we can do to have them be more successful.”
Moving Aggies
Young said the campus transportation system is an ongoing challenge the university is looking to address. 
“One of the things that we are looking at is how do we create more green space on campus and push parking to the peripheral of campus,” Young said. “I know that sounds like a terrible thing, but to be successful doing that and creating a seamless, interconnected network of roads and shuttle service — if we can create a shuttle system that would allow us to move people more frequently, much more quickly and reach more places — that would be very helpful.”
Sexual Assault
Young and Fierke said the university cares deeply about continuing efforts to improve how A&M handles sexual assault cases and assists survivors. 
“We are passionately committed to make things better, and we are grateful for the people who came forward,” Young said. “Aggies protect Aggies and we want to get everyone to understand the consequences of these actions. We want to create the best process we can.”
Exploring Traditions
Young and Fierke also had a chance to talk about their favorite traditions at A&M.
“I love ‘Howdy,’” Fierke said. “When I go back to Michigan or any other institution I say, ‘You have to get something like howdy.’ You say it and then everyone says it back to you. I’ve been able to take part in every tradition, and Muster and Silver Taps are very moving.”
Student body president Amy Sharp said the event was exciting, both because it was a first and because it has led to discussions about starting regular videos where the administration would answer student questions.
“I think it’s a good moment for student body in general to see that their higher leaders are willing to be face-to-face,” Sharp said. “Some of the questions were difficult and ones that students are passionate about, but they were both very honest, so it’s nice that this dialogue is worth their time and that students can get answers to their questions.”

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  • Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young and Provost Carol Fierke answered students’ questions at a town hall hosted by the Student Government Association on Sept. 18.

    Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

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