UF Law administrators address concerns at Spring Town Hall Meeting
Last week, the John Marshall Bar Association hosted UF Law’s latest Town Hall Meeting where administrators addressed concerns and answered questions raised by students about topics that included discussion of a student lounge where students can relax and socialize, exam schedules and the ongoing quest for the perfect hot food option in the cafeteria.
Dean Robert Jerry began the meeting with a few announcements, beginning with the continuing news of the difficult legal job market. He said there are some signs of improvement recently, but it continues to be a challenge.
“I can assure you our alumni have been extremely helpful in trying to help our students find meaningful opportunities after graduation, and our career development office has worked very hard on this,” he said.
He also addressed the recent U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings in which UF Law placed 48th overall and 25th among public schools, and noted that although UF Law applications are down, the downswing tracks with the national trend.
The first topic addressed the addition or reconfiguring of a student lounge area. Associate Dean for Administrative and Fiscal Affairs Debra Staats listened to students’ concerns that the current area downstairs in Bruton-Geer Hall is not conducive to relaxing and socializing. Options include changing the second-floor Bruton-Geer study area to a more traditional student lounge with couches and televisions or computer monitors for students to use. Staats said administrators will take this into consideration and continue to explore options.
Other topics included the installation of a card swipe on the second floor of Bruton-Geer Hall, which is currently on the way; nonworking electrical outlets in the library cubbies; and the possibility of getting an ATM on campus.
Staats said all the electrical outlets were working at the end of the fall semester and any that are not working will be repaired. Staats also said Wells-Fargo, which the University of Florida maintains a contract with, does not believe there would be enough traffic to merit installation of an ATM on the law school campus.
Associate Dean for Students Rachel Inman said a request was made to extend the hours of the cafeteria Starbucks during the exam period. She said administrators will be mindful in trying to take the exam schedule into consideration in relation to the hours the Starbucks will operate.
Inman then drew some laughs from the crowd as she read a student request about the hot food lunch option.
“Someone said ‘I love the hot lunch option, however, could we mix it up a little more? One time we had Panda Express instead of Pollo Tropical and that was great, thank you.’ And then they say, “but by the way can we please have Chic-fil-A?’”
The topic elicited a wide variety of opinions, ranging from changing Starbucks to a Subway, to having a Starbucks-Subway combination, to expanding the capabilities of the food service area for an expanded menu with items like french fries and other hot items.
Inman said another survey will be conducted before the end of the semester to help determine what will best meet the needs of the students, but any decisions will have to be cleared through Aramark, which is responsible for the food vendors on campus.
Inman also addressed concerns of reducing exam scheduling conflicts and time in between exams and said administrators will continue to work toward an option that will work best for the most students.