Friday, May 29, 2015

Students and Faculty Alike React to the Island Campus

by Paige Conticcio, Dan Passarelli, and Patrick Stewart
Guest Correspondents

At the beginning of the Spring, 2015 semester, students learned that Stockton University would be expanding into Atlantic City and creating an Island Campus.  During the entire semester, there was mixed reaction from students and faculty alike as everyday the status of the campus changed.

Initial Reactions of Students
With a purchase like this, many people will come to disagreements. Sitting in class students often heard small talk between students on how they feel as well as class discussions with teachers on how they feel. Some thought it was great for the school, others -- not so much.

Some people found it a great purchase to not only help Stockton but Atlantic City as well. With the areas that Atlantic City struggles in -- crime, human trafficking, and civic engagement -- it seemed as though Stockton would swoop in and "save" Atlantic City. The school would be able to give more officers to the City to assure the campus' safety as well as Atlantic City.

Continued Developments
But with recent breaking news it seems like this information doesn’t even matter anymore. On the very morning of March 25, 2015 the students received word that the school will no longer own the Showboat Casino and will have to put the casino back on the market. By the end of the semester, it seemed the seller of the casino isn’t finding the way Stockton was going to use the location satisfactory.

A covenant from 1988 states that this building must be used as a casino. The way Stockton was going to use it wasn’t going to satisfy that contract. Casinos are used to gamble, drink, and party. Stockton was going to use it for furthering student’s education, growing the school, as well as housing students. But since students won’t be gambling, drinking, and partying at the Showboat, the contract is violated and Stockton will have to put it back on the market in two and half weeks if the problem isn’t resolved.

Faculty Perspective
Before students gained this breaking news we held an interview with the head of the Communications Program, Christina Morus. We wanted to sit down and get to know how she felt about the purchase of the Showboat. Some of the first rumors that came out from this purchase was the Communications Program would be moved over there.

We went on to ask Professor Morus of how she felt about the possible move for the Communications Program.

She stated, “Personally I feel like the kinds of classes I teach can easily be on an island campus or be on our campus.” She continued on to discuss the possible problems this might cause for her department:

“In terms of the whole program moving it’s been a little bit complicated to make those decisions, in part because we just built that new stuff for the TV studio and in part because the radio station, it needs to stay here because of licensing and stuff.”

At the end of this question her personal take is that she would rather stay on the main campus --  but if the move has to be made, she would make the move. With this new campus the one problem you hear constantly on Campus is the transportation situation. How will students get from the main Campus to the Island campus?

Professor Morus told us, “Well, they said there’s going to be a shuttle, they said there’ll be a shuttle that goes from here to there, so you can take the shuttle.”

But what about the teachers, how will they get to the new campus being that so many of them come from the Philly area?  Professor Morus continued to talk about the shuttle and just how the students get shuttled over, the teachers would be able to get shuttled over as well.

When it comes to the transportation and jumping from campus to campus, a lot of things would have to be changed and professor Morus discussed these changes. Going on and saying, “They would also have to change the class modules. Because you can’t, there’s only ten minutes between classes and you really need a half hour to get over there and get in and stuff.”

This is another great point of the problems this massive purchase presents. If the school wants their students always late to their classes that is fine, but if they want this to work out they will most certainly have to come up with a new class module.

Who Would Go?
Another big problem that seems to be coming about for teachers and their majors is which are being moved to the Island Campus. Around campus you’ll hear certain teachers don’t mind the move but then others have a big problem with the move.

This all falls under the topic of what and who will be moved over to the Island Campus. With them having a few different majors to be taught over there, we were able to get professor Morus opinion on whether or not that would be a good idea of having multiple majors and multiple subjects taught over there.

She went on to talk about the idea of mirroring what we do at the main campus, with having a few majors over there along with general study courses. But she believes the programs that will be moved should be moved completely, we shouldn’t just have half over there and half over here. In her eyes she felt the majors that would be best suited over at the Island campus were; hospitality and tourism or even business.

Professor Morus feels though the college doesn’t want to segregate anybody and that’s the reason for the possibility of mirroring the main campus. The last and final thing we wanted to get professor Morus’s opinion about is the student’s safety over at the new Island Campus and how she felt with students living in Atlantic City.

She went onto discuss the potential of it and how it would be less expensive than building something from scratch at the main campus. But when it comes to the students safety she said, “Some of the people that think it’s like a bad idea aren’t sure how we are going to do the space and aren’t sure how we are going to account for students safety, because it is a very different environment.”

She also talked about the image of Stockton’s campus and how the two campuses would be completely different, “When you send your student to Stockton, you’re thinking about this little college in the forest and it’s very different than an urban campus.”

With all these questions there are still so many answers to be given, answers that need to be a explored. But after all this discussion between Professor Morus and our group it doesn’t seem like we will need the answers to the many questions we have of the Island Campus. Because if Stockton doesn’t get a plan or agreement to keep the Showboat, the very Island Campus we believed we would have would be part of the past.

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