President Olian discusses her strategic plan with students

By Marissa Davis

President Judy Olian held an informal town hall discussion Thursday, Feb. 21,  to discuss her strategic plan as well as recent news that Quinnipiac is spending nearly $1 million dollars renovating her new estate.

“...We have to think of the acquisition of this land as something that is a critical investment priority for the future of the University,” Olian said. “This is an investment in the future.”

News of the renovations broke Tuesday, Feb. 19, when the New Haven Register published an article describing the renovation plans. By Wednesday, Quinnipiac student Nicole Giordano had started a petition to ‘Get Quinnipiac President Judy Olian Fired,’ charging that the money for renovations was taken from the pockets of students and that the money could have been used for “dorms, classrooms, dining programs and shuttles.”

Giordano subsequently closed the petition Thursday. In a statement on the petition’s webpage she said, “I was brought into a meeting with President Judy Olian and the Student Government. My questions were taken openly and I was given answers. This investment to renovate the house is for good cause.”

Quinnipiac Student Government Association emailed the academic community inviting them to the informal town hall discussion “in response to the confusion and frustration among some students regarding the recent news about Quinnipiac.”

Photo Courtesy of Jess Ruderman

Photo Courtesy of Jess Ruderman

At the discussion students expressed concerns about the lack of air conditioning in dorms while the school is seemingly spending money elsewhere.

“Every year we invest $30-$40 million in facilities improvements on an ongoing basis,” said Olian.

As for the renovations on the estate Olian said, “It needs to be renovated if someone is going to live there and the board wants the president – whether its Judy Olian, or the next president, or the next president after her or him – that’s where the president is going to live and be expected to conduct the work of the university.”

During the meeting, student Lauren Mcgrath said that the expected renovations, including smart lighting and a catering kitchen, seemed superfluous.

“I don’t know what the lighting is,” said Olian. “The catering kitchen is in there because we expect to have donor events in there, student events, parent events of 200 people, you cannot do that out of a regular kitchen.

Olian told those in attendance that the president’s house is not an unnecessary investment and will be beneficial to the university.

“This is planned space for the uses of a president's house, this is not my house, this is the president's house today, in 10 years, in 20 years, in 30 years, in 80 years,” Olian said. “This is an investment that represents the future expectations of how presidents will be occupying their role and serving the future of the institution.”