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Campus Safety, COVID-19 Protocols Addressed at Kean Student Town Hall

Kean President Repollet, Student Org President Pleitez and Student Trustee Robinson sit at two tables on a stage.

Campus safety and COVID-19 protocols were among the topics raised by students this week at the first Student Town Hall of the 2021-2022 academic year.

President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., and members of his senior administration addressed questions about building repairs, wellness, and the COVID-19 mask mandate and vaccine requirement.

“Any time we can get together and have students voice their opinions, it’s a great day,” said Repollet, who launched Student Town Halls last year. “We are not perfect. However, we strive for excellence.”

Student Government Organization President Jason Pleitez, a senior management major, and Student Trustee Kobe Robinson, a senior communication/public relations major, moderated the Town Hall. They shared the stage with Repollet, calling on students with questions and reading queries submitted by several who were unable to attend.

Repollet told students he is committed to improving the lighting on campus, increasing community policing and making other safety upgrades following reports of harassment at the Center for Academic Success earlier this month. The Kean University Police Department investigated those complaints and filed charges against a former student. KUPD has continued to work with the president and students from his President’s Advisory Council to address their concerns.

“Your safety is my number one priority,” Repollet said. “The University must do our part, and I promise we will listen to you. Please know we are here for you.”

Anthony Monticello, acting director, and Jerome Hatfield, acting associate director of KUPD said they are exploring the idea of launching a student security worker program and adopting an emergency app for students.

“We are here 24/7,” Monticello said.

Students also asked about building conditions in Vaughn-Eames Hall, the fine arts building on the main campus. In response, Repollet and Felice Vazquez, Kean senior vice president for planning and special counsel to the president, said work has been done and equipment recently ordered. The president promised a full investigation of conditions in the building.

“I don’t want any student to go out of here thinking things are not being addressed,” Repollet said.

Several student questions dealt with the issues of COVID-19 precautions, including mental health concerns. 

Repollet said he is following science and abiding by state guidelines to keep Kean as safe as possible. Kean has also instituted “wellness days” to help students and staff cope with the pandemic, and the University is upgrading its counseling services and establishing a wellness center. 

Kean Online remains as an option for those students who do not want to abide by the requirements to be on campus, Repollet added.

“We are doing extremely well here,” he said. “I don’t apologize for the fact that staff and students are safe.”