Student Leaders Respond
By SAM MILLER and HASSAN ABDELHALIM
SGA President and Vice-President
What was it like to work with President Hample? This is a question we were asked many times this week. As student representatives, we are given a different view of the administration than most students on campus. The most important thing we took away from our meetings was that she truly cared about the students.
While it may not have always been immediately visible to everyone, her desire to listen to what matters to students was clear to us, and we were blown away by her willingness to put student safety first. She immediately supported Student Senate initiatives such as new blue-light systems and assembling a council on student safety, including current students, administrators, safety officials and police chiefs from George Mason and William and Mary. We would not be surprised to see these initiatives, as well as other efforts to positively improve the student experience, continue right up until June 29.
Each time we met with her, she was interested in what was happening on campus and what she could do to make it better. For the past few years, we all heard the complaints about library hours, but nothing was done. In our very first meeting, she heard our complaint and was upset that we weren’t getting what we needed. It became a priority to her, and within the semester, she made the change we needed.
While her decision to resign is unexpected, UMW has always been an institution driven by our community and our commitment to excellence that will outlast not only our time here as students, but also any single president’s tenure. We thank President Hample for initiating the first-ever strategic planning process and doing this with strict respect for preserving the community values that make UMW the great institution it has been while looking to the future.
Mary Washington needs to change and adapt in order to meet the criteria of a competitive 21st-century university. People are apprehensive of change, but change must happen; President Hample was able to initiate the discussion to reevaluate what UMW needs to do to be the best it can be.
We cannot blame the successes or failures of this institution on any one individual. In order to achieve what we must, we have to work together. As student leaders, we are often challenged by the lack of participation and positive discussion on campus policy issues. No president will be able to take Mary Washington in the direction it needs without the input of all those invested in its future. We’re confident that the students, faculty, staff and alumni will positively respond to the changing landscape of higher education.
President Hample started us on a path of growth, but it’s up to us to direct where that path will lead. No matter what happens in the future, or who our next president will be, the heart of Mary Washington lies with the students, faculty and the spirit of those before us.