Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson met with the Students’ Association on Wednesday to respond to the congress members’ questions about student life.
Thompson, vice president for Student Life and dean of students, spoke about the religious and ethnic diversity of the campus, both of which increased this year. Thirty percent of the freshmen class is of an ethnic minority, the most diverse class in the university’s history.
All faculty members are required to be members of churches of Christ, but an increased variety of religious affiliation has encouraged the administration and the Board of Trustees to consider what role this plays in the University’s broader discussions about its Christian heritage and identity. While they’ve discussed it several times, nothing definitive has been concluded.
Thompson said the move to Division-I athletics should not affect ACU’s commitment to being a Christian learning environment. Thompson challenged students to hold the administration accountable to Christian principles if they should ever feel we are not doing so.
“Whatever you do, your first job is to disciple,” said Thompson. “Your first job is to speak into the lives of these young men and women, student athletes and show Christ.”
The university is expected to gradually increase in size, but Thompson said ACU’s position as a smaller school is an important feature in its attractiveness to prospective students. To accommodate larger numbers, the administration has considered renovations and expansions to Gardner. Additionally, and after several meetings with the owners of the University Park property, UP’s rates will be reduced next year and will also incorporate utilities.
Thompson also addressed the absence of Russ Kirby, the former director of student multicultural enrichment. Kirby resigned for personal reasons and is currently living in the Dallas area with his family.
Byron Martin, recently named director of student multicultural enrichment, addressed SA’s concerns about different student organizations’ fundraising activities. Black Students Association, Hispanos Unidos, Virtuous Sisterhood, SHADES, and Sanctify fall under the Office of Multicultural Enrichment.
Earlier this semester, Hispanos Unidos was concerned about the lack of funding for their traditional culture event, Entra a la Plaza. Congress addressed the Hispanos Unidos’ lack of fundraisers, but the Office of Multicultural Enrichment provided enough funding to allow Entra a la Plaza to occur. OME has a specific budget to support their student organizations’ major events, such as the Black History Production.
Martin said he did not want students to feel the need to fundraise in order to share their culture with the Abilene community, but encouraged fundraising for smaller activities.
“These are things that the entire community looks forward to seeing, so we don’t want to let those go by the wayside,” said Martin. “We don’t want to have a year where we don’t have those events.”
Conference fund requests ended this week. Lambda Pi Eta was granted $200 for the National Communication Association Conference and Alpha Psi Omega was granted $1,000 for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. With leftover funds, congress awarded the Society of Physics Students an additional $165 for the Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Congress, bringing their total to $1,035.
SA meetings are open to all students. Meetings are conducted on Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. in the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building room 114.
Kaitlyn Warton, McDonald hall representative
Kaitlyn Tuiasosopo, Gardner hall representative
JP Festa, Barret hall representative
Connor Vansteenburg, off-campus representative
JP Ralston, COBA representative