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Pacific’s undergraduate Student Senate, led by President Doan Pham, held an undergraduate student Town Hall via Zoom on September 10th to address the most pressing issues and questions Pacific is facing this term. President Leslie Hallick began the discussion with the introduction of the major topics that would be raised in the hour-long meeting, namely the measures that staff is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the university’s response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the many natural phenomena facing the Forest Grove area. However, before any discussion began, President Hallick turned attention to Campus Public Safety Officer Stephen Shores to explain a trespassing incident that occurred on Wednesday night. Shores elaborated, “[Wednesday night], in the 11 o’clock hour, a very vigilant resident assistant identified a suspicious individual inside of Gilbert Hall,” going on to assure students that- after each resident in Gilbert Hall underwent a welfare check, “we found that there was no incident.”
The floor was then ceded to Interim Dean of Students Lindsay Blem, who shed light on Pacific Staff’s continuous work to fight the transmission of the COVID-19 virus on campus. Blem said, “We are getting our monitoring and support team up and running,” in an effort to remind students to follow health guidelines and provide support to students who may need it. Several students then expressed concern over a portion of the student body not receiving the results for their COVID-19 tests from the beginning of the year, to which Dean Phillips replied, “If you are positive, we will contact you.” Students also raised concerns surrounding the fires and abnormal wind events affecting the Northwest but were assured that Forest Grove is currently out of the path of the closest two fires.
Only around 10 minutes was devoted to the University’s response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, in which time President Hallick said “[The administration] began looking across at what we could to take this moment and use it to look at systematic racism and ask ‘What can we be doing?’.” Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer Narce Rodriguez expressed the University’s intention of “…employing an outside consultant to help with a strategic plan,” in order to help Pacific promote anti-racism among faculty, staff, and students. Attending students expressed disappointment that there was not enough time allotted in the meeting to discuss the matter at length. President Hallack suggested that an entirely different town hall devoted solely to discussing the Black Lives Matter movement should be held at a later time, bringing the Town Hall to a close. — Isabelle Williams
Isabelle Williams is a junior at Pacific University who is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Theatre. She is from Astoria, Oregon, and enjoys writing about music and entertainment as well as investigative reporting.