By Kevin Lopez
On Thursday, March 16, the Grand Rapids Community College Student Alliance had their bi-weekly townhall meeting with guest President Lepper who was asked about campus safety concerns, mental health, and improvements to the school.
This was the first time Lepper had been to a Student Alliance meeting and he said he felt that it was very important for him to be there.
“As the president of the college, I need to know and hear from students and have a sense of what’s on their mind,” Lepper said. “We’re here to help our students be successful and the only way I know to do that is to have a relationship with them.”
Alex Miranda, president of the Student Alliance, asked Lepper about his view on campus safety
“We can never guarantee anybody’s safety,” Lepper said. “As a public institution, we are open to the public. Just be vigilant and be cautious. In reality you can’t let your guard down. We encourage others to be vigilant and to report suspicious behavior.”
A student in attendance asked Lepper if there are possibly more ways to alert campus security outside in areas where students frequent such as the Student Center and the Raleigh J. Finkelstein area.
Lina Blair, Director of Student Life and Conduct, felt that the department could create more awareness for the existing call buttons by providing exact locations and also mentioned anonymous tips for concerned students which are located here.
Students also brought up a suggestion to improve GRCC’s counseling center offerings and suggested that the budget could be expanded to add more counselors to help students in need.
There was a meeting agenda for Thursday’s meeting posted on social media, but the discussion mainly focused on campus safety concerns, possible improvements and mental health.
“Those are just conversations we may potentially have,” Miranda said about the agenda. “Dr. Lepper was only supposed to be here for 30 minutes, but he stayed for an hour, so we just really went with the flow,” Miranda said.
Although Miranda planned on changing the name from “Student Alliance” to “Student Government,” as he announced at the Feb. 20 Board of Trustees meeting, it appears the change isn’t official yet.
“We’re calling ourselves ‘Student Government,’ but we are more complex than we thought. We have to go through all these steps to change our name, our logo, and our banners,” Miranda said. “We do plan on changing the name, but I’m not sure when it’s official.”
The next meeting will take place Thursday, March 30 at the multi-purpose room in the Student Center at 2 p.m.