By Antoinette Cea
On Wednesday, the Director of Public Safety at Catholic University, Thomasine Johnson, notified members of the Student General Assembly (SGA) that DPS declines their invitation to the highly anticipated student hearing of the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The cancelled event was scheduled for 7:00PM on Monday, November 9th and was cancelled over email correspondance on November 4th.
The event was organized by SGA in order for students to address and question matters of safety on campus to members of DPS.
Many students on SGA express concern and unhappiness at the decision of Johnson.
“I am disappointed that Director Johnson has chosen not to come to our Senate Hearing after seeing how big of a success the Dean of Student’s Hearing was,” said Vice President of SGA, James Benedek. “This is an opportunity for students to ask questions and learn more about the Department of Public Safety and now they are robbed of that opportunity.”
Kristina Pinault, Chair of the Student Life Committee and key organizer of the event, believes the cancellation of the event is another example of an issue with transparency on campus.
“After inviting her [Johnson] she required we send our questions before she would accept and we included every topic we could think of at that time,” said Pinault. Following the sent questions to Johnson, she declined invitation.
“Their dedication to representing their constituencies is unmatched and they, as well as the rest of the student body, are very interested in opening a dialogue between DPS and SGA,” said Pinault. “I think it is an issue of transparency at this point and I don’t understand why an administrator is unwilling to answer genuine questions from the students who pay her salary.”
Beginning on Wednesday, SGA had booths in the lobby of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center where students were allowed to write down questions to ask DPS during the hearing.
The planning for the hearing has been in motion for the past two weeks.
Many student on campus express dissatisfaction in Johnson’s final decision.
“That’s kind of suspicious the fact that they don’t really want to cooperate is kind of disturbing,” said senior Environmental Chemistry major, Grace Pooley. “That they would go against something that is in the direct interest of the students is a little weird.”
Isaac Kimmel, senior Philosophy major, questions both SGA and DPS on the cancellation.
“There’s a lot of petty nonsense that goes on in student government and I don’t blame DPS for not wanting anything to do with it,” said Kimmel. “On the principle of the matter, though, SGA is our elected representative body and DPS owes it to us to show us what they’ve accomplished, even if it’s nothing.”
Johnson has notified SGA that she is able to schedule a private meeting to address student concerns in the future.
Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Activities, Kathryn Jennings, and Title IX Coordinator, Frank Vinik, declined comment on the cancellation.