Salt Lake Community College President Dr. Deneece Huftalin addressed students’ issues during a forum Oct. 7 in the Student Center at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Huftalin answered questions submitted by students beforehand as well as from the audience of approximately seventy students — about half of whom attended the event virtually via Zoom.
Questions from the audience came in a Q&A session after the main presentation and focused primarily on equity and the planned student housing project which was announced early last year.
Huftalin began by remarking on her proudest moments at SLCC in the past 18 months.
“I’m amazed at tenacity, resilience, grace, and wonderful energy our students have,” she said.
The bulk of the questions centered around the student housing facility, which will be located at the Taylorsville campus with an estimated 403 beds in a variety of apartment styles, including studios and four-bedroom apartments for family housing.
SLCC students raised concerns about the rising costs of housing in the Salt Lake City area. Huftalin noted that SLCC was still negotiating with their partners in the housing project about exactly what the costs might be.
”We’re hopeful that we’ll build into our scholarship opportunities with housing as part of a scholarship,” Huftalin said. “That way we can help those who really need affordable housing and a good place to be educated.”
The current plan will require students to be taking at least nine credit hours in order to qualify for housing, but that could change if beds are not filled.
Worries about how law enforcement might interact with students of color on campus at irregular hours as they begin using student housing also came up.
“I think having that housing will actually help,” Huftalin said, noting that having students on campus more permanently can help to foster a sense of community and lead to safer interactions with law enforcement.
Beyond housing, one question from the audience inquired about the vaccine mandate for students and faculty that register for the spring 2022 semester. Huftalin said submissions for medical, religious or personal vaccine exemptions will be considered and would be available in time for the opening of spring registration on Oct. 18.
Afterwards, Lindsay Simons, president of the SLCC Student Association and the forum moderator, said that she was happy with the forum turnout and expressed a desire to do similar events in the future.
“This is something we should do more often,” Simons said.
More information about SLCCSA events can be found on the SLCC calendar.