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President Repollet Hears from Students in Virtual Town Hall

Picture of the Kean Cougar for the Student Town Hall.

Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., held his first Student Town Hall virtually on November 19, directly fielding questions from students on a variety of topics from remote education to health insurance.

More than 100 students and other members of the Kean community logged in to view the event.

“It is an opportunity for my administration and faculty to hear your thoughts and really listen,” Repollet told the students as the virtual session began. “I promise you this — we will take your concerns seriously, and we are counting on you to partner with us.”

Student Trustee Jason Pleitez and Kobe Robinson, the alternate student trustee, helped organize and run the event.

"It gave the students an opportunity to see Dr. Repollet on a personal level rather than just in an administrative way," Pleitez said. "Speaking with the President and receiving that direct communication and direct feedback gives that level of transparency."

Several students asked about the remote learning workload, particularly the volume of discussion questions that students must respond to as part of their remote classes. Sophomore sociology student Desirae Diaz told President Repollet that the discussion questions are time consuming and put extra pressure on students. One of her suggested solutions was to limit the number of DQs to two or three per class per semester.

“This is a hot topic that we will address immediately,” replied Repollet, adding that Diaz offered a fresh approach to the issue. “I like your idea. I am going to call it the Desirae Idea, and give you full credit. Academic overload is being discussed, and we understand the different demands on students.”

John Shantz, a 29-year-old full-time student and stay-at-home dad majoring in psychology and psychiatric rehabilitation, encouraged Kean University to offer health insurance coverage or support in finding health insurance to non-traditional students like him who are no longer covered by their parents’ insurance.

Repollet thanked Shantz for shining a spotlight on the unique concerns of non-traditional students, a growing section of Kean’s student population. “You put something out there that we have to look at,” Repollet said, promising to investigate options with the County of Union and other community partners.

Students also asked if the University could loosen restrictions on socializing in residence hall rooms for students living on the same floor or in the same building as well as in other spots on campus like Starbucks or the dining hall. 

“We have to follow the administrative orders from the Governor,” Repollet replied. “We hope and pray that by the spring, we can loosen things up. My goal is that you get a quality education and get home safe. I am not going to relinquish my authority over that.”

Repollet said he and his team would follow up with students on their ideas. More information will also be posted on the Town Hall website as it becomes available.

Another Student Town Hall with President Repollet will be scheduled in the Spring semester.