What’s A La Soulmate?

Editorial

Kylie McGovern, Managing Editor

Merriam-Webster defines a soulmate as a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament. In my time at La Salle, I had heard the term “La Soulmates” thrown around. A ‘La Soulmate’ is a person perfectly suited for another person who they met here at 20th and Olney. In hearing this term I realized that I already knew two La Soulmates: my parents.

 My parents met while working right here on campus at Germantown Hospital in the 90s. My mom was in nursing school and my dad was on the men’s rowing team and studied biology. My dad graduated in 1993 and he and my mom have created a life right outside of Philadelphia for the past thirty years. They got married in 1999 and I came along in 2001. My two sisters were born in 2003 and 2005. La Salle remained a special place for my parents as they reconnected with friends from La Salle over the years. But, in 2020 when I chose to come to my parents’ alma mater and my sister followed this past year La Salle became an even more centric part of our lives. 

In talking to friends here at La Salle, my parents’ La Soulmate story is special, but not unique. Many of my friends here have siblings or parents who are also La Soulmates. As a semester-long project here at the La Salle Collegian, I was lucky enough to connect with La Soulmates. These La Soulmates have various stories for how they met each other ranging from class to Greek life, to mutual friends, but one aspect that seems to be a player in all of these stories is the tight-knit community. Without further adieu, here are some stories from La Soulmates I connected with: 

Crista Bernardino explains that she and her husband Brad met at La Salle in 2010 when he was a freshman rushing Alpha Phi Delta and she was a junior in Gamma Phi Beta. The two were paired together at a social event and ran into one another a few months later at Finnegan’s Wake and have been together ever since. Today, the two have been married for over 6 years and have a son and daughter.

Justine Amorose and Sean Ford have a similar Greek love story. The two met in the fall of their freshman year while Justine studied nursing and was a member of Alpha Theta Alpha and Sean a member of Alpha Pi Delta. The two graduated in May 2021 and have been together for nearly five years.   

Other La Soulmates met through student organizations like Amanda Hicken and her husband Scott who met through the Masque. The two were friends for several years and then started dating Scott’s senior year. The two earned the Masque’s first ‘It’s About F*ing Time’ award at that year’s formal. Amanda and Scott have been married since 2009 and now live in Cleveland, Ohio with their daughter Amelia.

Johanna Szyszkiewicz met her fiance Joe while Joe was in the four-year MBA program and she was in the nursing program. The two met very briefly at a social for the Ambassadors but had a more official introduction at a Rugby social a few weeks later. The two love to enjoy the Eagles together today in between Johanna’s nursing shifts. 

The classroom here at La Salle brought other La Soulmates like Mary and Brad Himmelstein who met in statistics class, but also connected through peer educators and work-study. It’s a small school, right? The Himmelsteins’ got engaged their senior year and will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this year. 

 Kaitlyn (Petruccelli) Murphy and James Murphy met in the classroom like the Himmelstein. The two shared their classes together freshman year as biology majors in the same Honors Triple. Kaitlyn explained that “after everyone did poorly on our first history test with Dr. Stowe, Jimmy showed up at my dorm room with another classmate, looking to study with me. We subsequently formed a study group with four other bio majors in the Honors Program – we all studied together through four years at La Salle, including MCAT prep.” Jimmy and Kaitlyn stayed friends and study buddies until their junior year when they took physics when we started spending more time together. The two started dating at the end of that year. La Salle remains a role in the couple’s life recently as Br. Michael McGuinness attended their wedding last year and gave a homily at their nuptial mass. The two explained how Lasallian values shape their lives today in their careers in medicine. The two welcomed a baby boy this past summer. 

For some couples like Christina Potter and Marcus Jackson, La Salle strengthens their relationship from a pre-existing one. The two met at West Catholic High School, in senior year, a month before either told the other they were going to La Salle. They both ended up going to La Salle, where they stayed together all four years and are now married! The two said that “La Salle definitely helped us to grow and ‘explore’ our relationship!”

Chris and Melanie Idler both graduated in 1993. Melanie remembers seeing Chris in her freshman orientation in the summer before school started and was definitely hoping to run into him freshman year. But, Chris told me a story about how he remembered meeting Melanie saying “​​she was wearing two different color shoes, which I thought was a little odd, but it caught my eye.” The two disconnected for a while after school, but both were in Philly the same weekend without knowing it. Melanie ran into a friend from La Salle on the banks of the Schuylkill River that weekend who mentioned he was having a party that evening. Melanie and her friends ended up turning up at that friend’s house in Manayunk, where Chris happened to be. Today, Lasallian values play a part in the Idlers’ lives as they send their two daughters to a Christian Brothers high school in Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College High School) , one of which applied to La Salle for the class of 2027. 

Although these are just a few stories of La Soulmates, these love stories are a testament to the community and friendship that exists on campus. Personally, my life would be different without La Salle literally because my parents met here, but also emotionally because of the community this campus sows. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of the La Soulmates who reached out, even those who were not included. In addition, thank you to Cherylyn Rush and Brother Michael who helped connect me to the La Soulmates. 

La Salle’s test-free pilot program is a win for access and equity

Editorial

Bianca Abbate, Former Editor-in-Chief

Dear Editor,

Today, I write to you as a proud La Salle alumna. With the news that La Salle University will no longer consider standardized tests for admission or merit scholarships comes the realization that the University is paving a path toward equity in education. The future looks bright. This decision means that La Salle will be following the lead of other universities who will now endeavor a more holistic application process. 

Receiving a merit scholarship to attend La Salle University opened many doors for me. Perhaps the greatest door was having graduated college debt-free. While the experience seems distant, I think back to how I earned that scholarship in the first place. I recall my final days in high school and the anxiety of applying to college. I remember thinking that my grades and involvement would not be good enough if my SAT score could not reach a certain threshold. Even as a 17-year-old kid, I knew that I had more to offer a school than the number I could achieve on a standardized test, but I also knew that I had to surrender to this necessary hurdle for college admissions.   

Ultimately, I performed well on the SAT. However, I assure you that my score had little to do with my aptitude and everything to do with the fact that I had the means to prepare for the test. I had the time to study and the money for tutoring. How many college applicants can say the same? The truth is that these standardized tests are not so standard after all. Like many other standardized tests, the SAT favors the rich and the white. The College Board’s own data reveals that wealthier, Caucasion and Asian Americans who come from more educated families tend to perform far better on the test. In a 2021 study of college admission tests, author Mark Kantrowitz presents three key findings: that male students are 42% more likely to have combined SAT test scores in the 1400 to 1600 range than female students, that white students are three times more likely than Black or African-American students and twice as likely as Hispanic or Latino students to have SAT test scores of 1400 to 1600, and that students with family income of $100,000 or more are more than twice as likely as students with a family income under $50,000 to have SAT test scores of 1400 to 1600. If these shameful results raise not even an eyebrow for those in education, what can we say about the merit of our education system?

Figure 1. Students from higher-income families tend to achieve higher SAT scores

Source. Mark Kantrowitz, Forbes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markkantrowitz/2021/05/21/how-admissions-tests-discriminate-against-low-income-and-minority-student-admissions-at-selective-colleges/?sh=6078e49f3cc1

It would seem natural for a university to move away from these antiquated metrics for admission. Nonetheless, the news of this pilot program has been met with some criticism. In one LinkedIn post announcing the program, some rejoiced and others lamented, arguing that La Salle’s test-free policies would not prepare students for the “real world” and that it would lower the University’s standards. I cannot blame people for believing that this test might be a good measure of college preparedness and intelligence. After all, this concept has been shoved down our throats for years. Yet, I refuse to believe that La Salle is lowering its standards in this decision. Rather, La Salle is raising its standards for access to higher education. The University will not submit to the standards invented by the College Board to determine who will excel in their schools, an occasion to be celebrated.

I applaud La Salle’s decision to move past these arbitrary markers of college preparedness. Today, I am in a similar position as my 17-year-old self. I am now applying for law school and preparing to take the LSAT for the third time next week. Despite having the skills, the grades and the resume that I believe would make me a successful lawyer, I am subjected to yet another inequitable test which does not favor me as a first-generation student or a full-time employee. Even worse, this time, the test is much more costly and time-consuming, and the stakes are higher. Of course, the $200 test registration fees and thousands of dollars in decent test prep do not include the additional means it will take to submit one’s application. It saddens me to know that to even begin the pursuit of advanced education requires a hefty down payment. For many, the dream of becoming a doctor or lawyer will not be realized, not because they lack the intelligence or the tenacity, but because they lack the funds. The system must change.

Stellar test scores and even great grades can only get one so far in life. The true mark of a Lasallian is his or her character and commitment to community. These traits, not numbers, are what open doors for us and allow us to succeed in the professional world. I say that, as it does with each student it admits, La Salle took a chance on me, and I like to think that it will see a return on its investment. It is my hope as an alumna that La Salle will continue to take chances on students who will enrich the University with their unique perspectives. With La Salle’s new policy, the admissions team will find something special in young people that they may have otherwise overlooked. With the right tools and a nurturing environment, these students will undoubtedly prove the admissions team right in their decision. That’s a win for La Salle.

Looking back at La Salle’s return to face-to-face learning — Editorial

Editorial

The Editorial Board

Header Image: La Salle University

The 2021-2022 academic year marks La Salle’s first full year back, with events, breaks and studies following the traditional cadence that was expected from an in-person Lasallian education. While the spring 2021 semester was the La Salle community’s first re-introduction to in-person learning and living, it was very much a bumpy ride and a Band-Aid solution. We were here at the end of the last academic year, but we weren’t really here. This year, we came into our own again, and for some of us, got to experience the school as it was intended for the first time.

Now, as the members of the Editorial Board are studying for their final exams, packing up, getting ready to move back home for the summer or isolating to stay safe during this last minute COVID wave, we wanted to look back on this year, and celebrate the fact that we made it a whole year, not just without being sent home, but with a great sense of community and pride that we came together to make things work in a time filled with so much uncertainty.

As the new Editorial Board found its voice, we frequently commented on the progress the university was making in terms of COVID-19 cases, behavior and understanding, and so many changes came in just two semesters.

We eventually stopped writing these pieces because a general sense of comfort fell over the university, particularly when we followed the city in lifting the mask mandate, and things have felt very uplifting since then. But, being our last editorial of this year, we wanted to look back and just discuss everything we felt and everything that happened in this whirlwind of a year.

Perhaps the biggest change to on-campus life this year was in-person learning. While some of us had in-person classes at La Salle in the spring of 2021, the fall 2021 semester opened in-person and hybrid classes to so many more people, and many more professors moved away from online only modality. Some members of our board experienced their first in-person classes during this semester despite already being sophomores at La Salle.


Relationships had to be rekindled, and for underclassmen, these people who previously occupied a small box on their computer monitor were now living, breathing members of their lives. Beyond this, heightened vaccination rates eased many students’ minds, particularly those who were not keen on in-person learning in the spring of 2021.

Even though our desks were pushed far apart, we had assigned seats, we didn’t recognize each other or couldn’t hear each other in masks, it was still great to finally get to see so many familiar faces and be sat in these places that for some of us felt like home, and for others, would become a home away from home. Stopping by Saxby’s before class, passing someone you hadn’t seen since March of 2020 in the Hayman hallways or checking the seating chart and seeing new faces you’ve never met in person, only on a Zoom screen, the feeling was incredibly powerful.

But, it wasn’t just in-person classes, it was on-campus life. People were living on campus in the spring of 2021, but for a majority of students, that meant staying in your dorm or townhouse and seeing the same three or four people every day, afraid to venture out to meet others, either because rules were unclear, COVID was coming in waves or the risk of losing that small bit of human interaction because you went to the wrong party was just so terrifying. 

This year, with the low levels of cases being reported toward the end of the year, the university trying to promote some in-person events and moving onto campus in the summer instead of the dead of winter proved to be the push that people needed to get out and be a community again. We remember meeting up with our friends again, taking our masks off and knowing that we would be safe and just ready to be college students again in every sense, not just academically.

While events like the on-campus formal dance may have pushed the limits of our comfort in terms of the COVID risk, others like the school’s annual Homecoming celebration, wine tastings and weekly Late Night La Salle events went off without a hitch. Clubs were allowed to meet in person again, in some cases, with some even hosting events to bolster their numbers in a time when most clubs are bleeding seniors and not finding any newcomers.

Image courtesy of Jakob Eiseman
The Collegian‘s office in the Union that was once a place of collaboration and paper editing returned to its roots this year.

For us, returning to the Collegian’s office in the union meant more than we could have imagined. It’s dingy, it’s dusty and it took us about 10 full hours to clean out after over a year of being uninhabited, but the office was shaped up, and we returned to create the paper. We met as a group, some of us for the first time ever, and were able to bounce ideas off of each other, plan future issues using white boards, use body language to describe how we felt and avoid all of the awkwardness that came with meeting over Zoom, and the paper was so much better off for it.

Just something as simple as being able to have a club meeting in person or sit in Blue and Gold or the Union and have lunch with people who weren’t our roommates made the campus feel alive and vibrant, even on days when it was dead compared to its past peak. 

The important thing to remember, is that through all of this, vaccination and proper masking were the first lines of defense to us maintaining a proper campus environment, but people being selective with their social groups, avoiding crowded parties and public places when applicable, testing and properly reporting results to quarantine with accordance to guidelines helped us truly come through to where we are now. 

The school can only give us so many freedoms before we have the chance to ruin it — but we didn’t ruin it. People knew how important it was to stay COVID safe, so even when we went out, it was with people we trust, and we maintained proper social distancing or contact tracing.

The La Salle community has shown over the course of this year that it does have the ability to help restore campus to what it was prior to COVID. Through diligence, kindness and care, the La Salle community has properly dealt with the return to campus and helped restore trust in the collective’s involvement in the school both in and outside of the classroom.

As shown in classes where polled students did ask for masks to be worn, students managed to come together with little to no issues in wearing masks for those who needed to or felt uncomfortable when they were not worn. All around, even after COVID policies were relaxed, students continued to work towards helping others feel comfortable and safe during their time at La Salle.

With the exception of one time where the campus community was forced into an online modality due to case numbers, we have had no incidents or major outbreaks of note in the whole year, and we believe that, even though mitigating COVID-19 cases requires just the bare minimum amount of care on behalf of well-minded students, that we all still deserve a pat on the back.

That includes our amazing professors, who risked their health day after day to come in and teach. Some professors were open about the fact that they were at risk, or lived with those who were, and needed students to be very strict on mask wearing and contact tracing for the safety of their academic leaders, and the La Salle community was staunchly accepting of this.

As far as checkpoints go, we made it so far that the testing center was able to downsize and move out of Treetops Cafe, as the capacity needed was reduced by so much, we were able to drop the mask requirement on campus, even in the classroom, making classes seem much more personal and familiar now, with many of us unmasking in front of each other for the first time in years.

While we are unfortunately going through a small COVID wave right now, with about 30 cases being reported this week, for most of this semester, the average weekly case count was less than 10, reporting zero cases for several weeks. In total for this whole second semester, we have only seen about 300 cases and around 75 percent of the campus community is fully vaccinated with their booster.

Get boosted if you haven’t already.

We can feel the overall spirit of La Salle rekindling. Students are on the quad and hanging with classmates in the Union. Some of us on the Board spent our first year completely online, and this year has shown us why we chose to come to La Salle in the first place: the Lasallian people and community. These people are the Christian Brothers, the professors who know your name and the students you have come to know so well. The chapel bell rings and all we can think is “we’re back.” 

Obviously, we still have many hills to climb, and the university itself has taken a significant hit financially and in terms of enrollment. Dr. Daniel Allen has been brought in to steer the ship, and the economic repercussions of the pandemic are still ravaging universities across the nation. Hopefully the search committee and board of trustees we’re correct in assuming that Allen’s fundraising skills were what La Salle needed to pull us back up as an organization.

But, as a community, we’re here, and we’re here to stay for as long as we are afforded a place in our little corner of Philadelphia.

In an understandably pessimistic piece from April of 2021, the previous Editorial Board wrote, “Zoom classrooms are full of strangers — black screens with audio. Dorms are private spaces. The campus is disconnected. The atomization and thinning of society that we have seen in our world has been mirrored in our corner of the world on Broad and Olney. The La Salle we all remember may never make a full return.” Well, to our long graduated Collegian alumni, and to anyone who may have agreed with that sentiment at that time. We are proud to announce that we are back.

Broad speculation on America’s context problem — Editorial

Editorial

Header Image: The NewsHouse

At the Collegian, all of our staff writers, editors and board members are journalists. We are all student journalists who have a limited amount of time to put into our writing and our research, but we are journalists nonetheless. We are journalists because we find information, we synthesize it, commentate on it and present it in written word to an audience waiting to learn. We are the first to admit that our synthesis of information is from a unique perspective as the students of the university and that our limited time and the size of our staff limits our abilities to investigate in some cases. But, we strive to always present information to our audience in a way that reflects both the truth, and in cases where appropriate, our perspective.

Just as we are journalists who deliver this information to the readers in the capacity we have available to us, all of us have the ability to both interpret information and deliver it to others. The ideas of journalistic ethics and integrity are hot button issues, especially when discussing the modern media landscape, but in a way we all should strive to uphold that integrity. 

We as a people have an innate desire to learn, to acquire information about the things we do not understand in order to make them fit with our personal understanding of the world. When we seek out information, we would like to suggest and explain why it may be in your best interest to find sources and stories that can enrich your knowledge on a certain topic more deeply, rather than inform you shallowly about several different topics.

The Context Problem

Increasingly, rapid-fire news feeds and bite sized looks into the 24 hour news cycle are all too common. Social media, digestible news apps, headline skimming and even word of mouth will bring us to awareness on topics touching on everything from the war in Ukraine to the world of sports to celebrity drama in a matter of minutes so that when we have conversations with our peers and colleagues we have a touchstone, a place to jump off for conversation. But, how often do we miss the facts, the context or even the story itself because we have interpreted the information we have in the best way possible, but that information simply is not enough?

This editorial you are reading is broad, we cover a lot, and we hope you take some of it to heart to both better appreciate the content you take in, and also have a better idea into how to interact with at least our personal publication in a more personal manner to enrich your perspective on current events and history.

In the end, no one publication will provide you with all of the context needed to experience someone else’s story. You will never know all there is to know about the Phillies game, political hearings or the irate ramblings of crazed celebrities because you were not there, you are not the person being interviewed and you will see the events reflected on your background and understanding of the present. But this is not a reason to avoid context in favor of personal understanding. Seek out several published works on news, and if you see parts that do not line up, consider why. One publication may bring a political bias into their story, another may skip facts to create a false understanding of events and others may simply just report the raw facts but give no perspective.

Even by reading two published stories on the same event, a world’s worth of context is gained, because the overlaps are more solidified in your understanding, and the differences stand out as either additional information or perhaps questionable biases.

Reflected in Social Media

According to a Pew Research Study, 86 percent of U.S. adults said they get their news from a smartphone. With an increasing number of people primarily getting their news from social media, there is an increasing danger of misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. Social media like Instagram and Twitter have made arguably moot attempts to mitigate the cycles of negative information that tend to spread rapidly on their sites. 

One La Salle student had this to say: “Living in an age of social media, I think we are also living in an age of misinformation. In my 20 years of life I have seen immense history be made — both good and bad — and in general I have seen this history play out on social media. I remember posting a picture of the eiffel tower when a terrorist attack happened in Paris. Quite honestly, I had very little knowledge about the event and I was just posting because everyone else in my feed was too. I think this example is similar to how people use social media to post about the issues of the time like COVID-19 unresearched and in an attempt to fit in.” 

The effects of social media can be directly seen on members of the student body and their memories surrounding major events. Social media companies (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) understand their power and are actively exercising it, perhaps in a negative or predatory manner.

On Nov. 16, 2021 Twitter created new labels for misinformation on the site. Twitter explains that they are working to help enable free expression and conversations, and would only intervene if content breaks their rules. But in cases when the rules are not broken, Twitter works to provide users with additional context like a message that reads “get the facts about COVID-19.”

However, many of us on this Editorial Board feel that these pop-up messages are not doing enough to educate the public. Users may see these alerts popping up on their posts and think it is funny, rather than the serious matter that misinformation is affecting society. 

As more people use various social media, more people are exposed to the cycles of fake news and misinformation. Twitter uses an algorithm that will show a tweet to more users if the tweet is retweeted, favorited or replied to more by enough of its first viewers. Therefore, if a popular tweet contains misinformation and users like what they see, more users will see the tweet in their timeline. Obviously it is more complex and technical than this, but generally this idea is found in most social media algorithms. Ultimately, sites like Twitter creating five word messages to attempt to combat misinformation is not enough. The organizations that control the social medium need to change their algorithm if they do not want fake news to spread. 

Censoring Falsities: Weakening Judgement

Twitter does make some attempts to censor users posting misinformation. For example, since introducing their COVID-19 guidance in January 2020, Twitter has suspended over 6,000 accounts and over 78,000 pieces of content that violated their policies. But, these suspensions create a new issue: a fear of control and censorship. 

The beauty and success of American society may not seem maintainable or even manageable at this point in time, however it should be our goal as Americans citizens to attempt to maintain its most fundamental value: freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of thought are all directly intertwined. If one goes, the others are bound to go with it. Educators and journalists (including all user-generated content creators on social media) have a duty to not only our country but also to themselves to try and maintain it.

Censorship prohibits the individual from unlocking this innate need. “Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them,” said Thomas Jefferson.

Seek Context, Seek Understanding

As discussed, it is no secret that there is currently a massive issue when it comes to media and information. Whether you are talking to a white-collar professional with an Ivy League graduate education or a construction worker with a high-school education, there is a consistent feeling that the majority of Americans consume the most digestible form of media and regurgitate dogma without any evidence to back up their viewpoint. 

We are aware that across the country there is a widespread argument circulating that most Americans have become lazy when it comes to being educated. The response to this feeling by the majority of media outlets has been more than reprehensible.

While some media outlets and many individuals believe the best response to the general lack of ability or care surrounding media consumption is to make important information easier to digest, we cannot help but feel the opposite. 

The desire for knowledge is innate. The desire for education is primordial. It is the job of educators and journalists to do so. As a university filled with educators, La Salle can, should and, in many cases does, strive to do so not only for the sake of fulfilling its mission as an educational institution but also for the sake of fulfilling the intellectual aptitude of each and every student attending it. 

More importantly, though, the responsibility for seeking out the information needed to properly weigh in on something falls to the individual. Context allows this discovery of understanding. While individuals may choose the easy way out time and time again, they will make the right decision as long as it remains a consistent option. 

It is our role as journalists, our professors’ role as educators and our fellow community member’s role as members of our democracy to strive towards understanding. Bite-sized content, spoon-feeding context tags, social media bombardment and rapid-fire news are not the way to properly learn or experience the world. Censorship, though, does not fix this issue, and in fact could lead to it worsening. The only real solution to America’s context problem lies within members of the public, and it is frightening to think that the only solution we can significantly promote is to just focus your learning. 

You shouldn’t need an algorithm to tell you what to learn, and you shouldn’t have a watchdog telling you what is false. Because if you’re being told exactly what to look at, and aren’t trusted to judge truth from fiction, then what is even the point of learning? Do the work, find the context and learn what is true through your own effort.

The madness of March: The Explorers after Ashley Howard — Editorial

Editorial

The Editorial Board

Header Image: VCP Hoops

It was announced Monday that the La Salle Explorers men’s basketball team would be undergoing yet another major upheaval with the firing of head coach Ashley Howard. Howard has been with the team for four seasons, and does not have a stellar record to show for his time. La Salle finished with an 11-19 record this season. 

As is suggested in an ESPN article by Jeff Borzello, “[coaching] La Salle is considered arguably the most difficult job in the Atlantic 10 due to its resources and facilities.” But Howard is from Philly, was an assistant coach at Villanova for five seasons and was there when they won the national championship in 2016 and 2018 and had worked with La Salle in the past. If anyone was willing, ready and up to the task, seemingly, it was Howard. But, it appears that it just was not meant to be. 

To the defense of Howard, he was brought to La Salle with hopes he would copy and paste Villanova’s success here at our humble school. Copy Villanova’s program, a school that has over $1.88 billion in assets… yeah maybe someone here was expecting a little much from Howard, but he was expected to mirror the success, and, to that end, he failed.

Some are speculating that this change comes as La Salle welcomes its new President Daniel Allen, hoping that with a new executive staff, a plan can be forged to bring La Salle into a new financial era, with the basketball team playing a part in that change. Whether this means taking a gamble on a head coach and pouring even more resources into it, or finally letting the giant die in exchange for a different approach to athletic promotion, it is unknown. 

“It’s a wonderful game but it’s a difficult business,” Howard said to the Inquirer. Taking a look at the more than $1 billion in revenues generated by March Madness, and all of the money the Big Five in Philly invest into their teams just to get a shot at greatness, we’d agree it is a difficult business, and it’s just that, business. Basketball at a college level is no longer a game, it’s an investment, and it’s about time that La Salle realized they’re making the same bad investments over and over again.

While genuinely do not believe Howard had any ill intent when coming to La Salle, this fact needs to be considered: In exchange for a cut in salary, Howard extended his contract by two years in 2020 and received a buyout upon his termination, and if Giannini’s path is anything to be followed, signing a $500,000 annual contract and then tanking the team seems like a great way to make some quick cash. Just saying.

There is some on-campus controversy surrounds the firing, as it took place one day before La Salle’s annual day of giving and was announced under the radar. Some believe that this action makes the school look bad, as they got rid of a large investment one day before asking for money. Others believe that the timing was perfect, as it showed donors that La Salle carried an attitude that shows that poor performance will no longer be tolerated. 

Opinions about Howard

La Salle University Athletics

We asked various students around La Salle what they had to say, and the responses varied from person to person, although their reaction was mostly negative. While some viewed him as a good coach, many others had vastly more biting emotions towards Howard. For the sharpest of all, please check out our Sports section to see what editor Enrique Carrasco had to say about Howard’s firing. (Spoilers: He doesn’t exactly give him a glowing review.)

One student who chose to remain anonymous stated, “It needed to happen. The basketball team only got worse under him.” Another simply said, “He sucked.” Despite these comments, not all thoughts were negative. Some students stated that he was a “great coach.”

Sedin ‘22 also stated,”[Howard] wasn’t the best. Looked like he knew what he talked about, but I doubt he actually did.” Jake ‘22 stated, “I think he expected to be able to work with what La Salle was giving him and didn’t fully understand how much goes into running a team with as little resources as we have. He thought he could think outside the box to help the team succeed, but wasn’t able to.”

Andrew ‘23 had something interesting to say when he stated, “When he was chosen to succeed Giannini in 2018, Coach Howard was definitely the best choice. He played basketball for Drexel and under Jay Wright was instrumental in building two national championship teams at Villanova. However, at La Salle, it seemed like Howard was never genuinely interested. It seemed like every year, we would finish with a frustrating record and then be forced to build a new team due to the high frequency of transfers.”

The opinions on who should replace Howard were some of the most varied we received. A few people stated that they’d like to see La Salle alum Tim Leger take over the reins. Others said that they’d like to see Matt Langel. Overall, though, most people had no idea who should come in to replace him, but most believe it should be a coach new to the system. 

What’s next?

Photography Matters

So, if Howard got cut, John Giannini got cut and La Salle has been nowhere near the NCAA March Madness tournament since 2013, in which they were beaten by Wichita State, there aren’t many routes left for La Salle to take. 

In exchange for a cut in salary, Howard extended his contract by two years in 2020 and received a buyout upon his termination. Also, if Giannini’s path is anything to be followed, signing a $750,000 annual contract and then tanking the team seems like a great way to make some quick cash. Just saying.

Maybe the solution to La Salle’s woes doesn’t really lie with the coaching staff of the Explorers; maybe it doesn’t lie with the basketball team at all. When the major sports schism occurred in September of 2020, athletic director Brian Baptiste said that “It’s important to note that this is not a cost-cutting decision, but rather a strategic effort to reallocate our investment in a way that better aligns with our student-centered mission.” Well, since then, Gianni’s $700,000+ annual salary and the bountiful wealth “reallocated” from the other sports into men’s basketball has borne a 9-16 losing season, an 11-19 losing season and continually low placements in the Atlantic 10 power rankings. 

La Salle parades their men’s basketball team like it’s something to be proud of, and simply put: it’s shameful. All one has to do is look at the women’s basketball team’s 16-12 record and top five ranking in the A10 compared to the men’s 12th place rank. We can go on. Men’s cross country: A10 champions, women’s cross country: we have the Mancini sisters and that’s enough said. Field hockey has a .429 and women’s soccer has a .450 win rate. Not stellar, top ranking scores, but compared to the men’s basketball .278, it just speaks for itself.

For some members of the Editorial Board not particularly interested in sports, but more interested in seeing La Salle stay open, we think that flushing funds and resources into more successful sports and working to engage the student body in those will be more fruitful than the continuous efforts to have students attend a men’s basketball game in which the Explorers will likely lose. 

Yes, we are aware that these other sports may not boast as fierce a competition as men’s basketball, arguably the sport with the most talent in the whole NCAA what with recruiting, bracketing and the money that comes with it at an all-time high. But, if La Salle could just allocate a fraction of the funds they put toward the basketball team toward their actually good teams and their academic endeavors, recruitment would go up, the campus experience would be improved and as a result, recruiting for basketball would loosen up and who knows… if La Salle stopped propping itself up on a losing team, maybe they would be able to claw out of this hole the pandemic has left them in.

La Salle’s Day of Giving is more important now than ever before — Editorial

Editorial

The Editorial Board

Header Image: Explorers Give

On Tuesday, March 22, La Salle will be hosting its ninth annual Day of Giving, which is “a day to celebrate the University, its proud history, mission and legacy of service to students,” according to the Day of Giving’s official description. We won’t sugarcoat the idea. It’s a day where La Salle asks for money and everyone from the community opens their wallets to fund them. Many on campus have this perception because it’s the truth. But, it is also a negative connotation that many use as an excuse to not contribute to this incredibly important event.

The Day of Giving is not a cash grab like some believe — a lot of the money that is donated goes directly back into the students in various ways. Money collected on the Day of Giving is partially used to fund student scholarships, including some of the larger ones La Salle offers. “Like many students at La Salle, I receive scholarship support that would not be possible without La Salle’s Day of Giving,” said La Salle ambassador Aaron Srinivasan. “I very much see La Salle’s Day of Giving as a way to support the dreams of many students by making education more accessible, which is something I am extremely grateful for.” 

What isn’t apparent from the Day of Giving’s initial marketing push is that those who donate, at least online, are able to put their donation toward a specific fund. Right now, the four listed are the La Salle Fund, which is a general pool of donation money that gets put toward campus improvements, changes in curriculum, events and improvements to La Salle’s education services; the Student Scholarship Fund, which, as the name suggests, provides financial aid for students who may not be in the position financially to attend La Salle; the Explorer Fund, which supports student athletes and their teams; and finally, the Anna “Nush” Allen, ’80, MA ’02, Student Emergency Fund, which is money set aside to support students in the case of an emergency, either to help supplement medical expenses or replacement of lost property due to a disaster, which helps students in a variety of ways outside of their academic involvement.

Explorers Give

Beyond this, money can be even more granularly distributed so that those who donate know their money will go toward an initiative or department they believe in. Some options include the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative; the Honors Program; and the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business and Nursing and Health Sciences respectively. For those interested or involved in La Salle athletics, donations can be put toward specific teams and sports groups as well. For many current students and alumni, the niche areas of La Salle like unique academic programs, student-run clubs and its small close-knit community are what make La Salle special. Therefore, being able to support specific areas of student life may make donors more inclined to donate towards something that directly impacted their Lasallian experience.  

There are many who have been skeptical about the university’s spending in the past and who are concerned with how it has handled its money since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (or before, if we’re being completely honest), but these distribution options should alleviate those concerns, as your money can be put toward places you think need it the most. Many of us on the Collegian’s staff could not attend La Salle without financial aid, and at least a portion of that aid comes from students, alumni and members of the community who donate to the Day of Giving. We aren’t promoting it to our community for any other reason than that we have seen the benefit it has on the lives of students and want those benefits to continue. Last year, the Day of Giving raised over $1 million for various funds and initiatives, and that money really helped a lot of students and faculty advisors thrive as La Salle came out of the pandemic. We look forward to seeing how this year’s Day of Giving ends up supporting current and future Explorers and their endeavors with La Salle.

We think you should try to contribute to the Day of Giving in a way that is meaningful to you and will also be contributing to help current and future Lasallians. Here’s what some of La Salle’s student ambassadors had to say about the Day of Giving:

“Throughout my time here at La Salle, I’ve been blessed to have so many opportunities for academic and personal growth in and out of the classroom. Giving back to the community that has given me so much is really important to me and also to others who have benefitted from the quality education and caring community of La Salle. Please consider donating to help current and future Explorers continue finding their paths here at La Salle University.” 

— Communication Sciences and Disorders and Spanish student Michaela Craner, ‘23.

“The Day of Giving is important for La Salle because it allows for its mission to be carried out. I have been lucky enough to attend La Salle for the past three years, and in that short period of time, I’ve come to understand how special of a place La Salle is. La Salle enables its students to grow and evolve into young adults who are curious, creative and concerned with the welfare of not only those close to them but of everyone. The lessons I have learned while at La Salle have shaped me in ways I cannot fully yet describe, but one thing is for certain  — my life has been infinitely better because of my time at La Salle, and that would not be possible without the support we get, including donations from the Day of Giving.” 

 — ISBT and Math student Trevor Martinez, ‘23

Explorers Give

Our sports editor and La Salle ambassador Enrique Carrasco had this to say: “I’m an international student here at La Salle. Without the help from various different scholarships that La Salle has given me, I would’ve never been able to come to the United States to study. Without the help of people’s donations, my dreams of coming to the States to study and pursue a career in law would never be possible.” 

While the Day of Giving primarily focuses on funding different academic programs, numerous programs at La Salle that need funding have been ignored. Numerous extracurricular programs have had their funding cut in part due to the inability to receive a proper budget. Perhaps some of the money donated should not only go to academics, but also to some of the programs that make La Salle so wonderful in the first place. 

The Day of Giving addresses one of the most important issues every student and faculty member is forced to confront at La Salle: there is simply not enough funding currently to run everything smoothly. With the help of the donors, La Salle is able to help young students pursue a higher level of education, something that many of these students would never have the opportunity to do without this help.

What we can do as Lasallians to help Ukraine — Editorial

Editorial

Jakob Eiseman, Editor-in-Chief

Header Image: CEPA

Editor’s note: If you are reading this the morning of March 3, 2022,  there is a faculty session being held by the political science and history departments at 12:30 p.m. that will provide some more context to the Lasallian community on Russia’s goals in Ukraine and how other nations have responded to their invasion. More details can be found here.

In the global Lasallian community, March is known as Mission and Heritage month, and in a note to the university community, Brother Ernest Miller explained what this means for La Salle University. Within this letter, he quoted the very poignant line from Lasallian Reflection Six, “The Lasallian vision is seeing abundance where others see scarcity and bringing nourishment where there is none.” While Miller’s letter was setting up the community for a very important time for the university that includes the Day of Giving and other university-centric events related to the mission, this quote stood out to me particularly in relation to the situation the global community finds itself in. The war in Ukraine is difficult to unpack, and we have covered it in-depth in our politics section and will continue to cover it as more developments progress. But, I think it is particularly important that we take this time to realize that as a Lasallian community, it is our duty and our mission to support those in need, especially those in Ukraine who are in many cases losing everything.

Interim President Tim O’Shaughnessy addressed the university community about Ukraine on Feb. 25, and the sentiment was well heard. “Together and by association, we must unite in prayer,” said O’Shaughnessy, “lifting up those who are directly impacted by these traumatic acts of aggression and calling for an immediate end to this invasion of Ukraine.” This was what this address centered around: prayer. Yes, we are a Catholic institution, and the Brothers of the Christian Schools are a deeply religious organization. However, we need to do more than pray. Many members of our Lasallian community are not prayerful individuals or even religious at all. The mission of the brothers, and of St. John Baptiste De La Salle, however, goes beyond religion and prayer. The desire to want to help others and support the needy through education and mission is not exclusively a religious desire, and we need to acknowledge that there are ways for us to help outside of thoughts and prayers. And, whether you are religious or not, by entering into the Lasallian community, you chose to be a part of a group that makes helping others their main personality trait.

There are several ways to help the cause in Ukraine from 20th and Olney, including several ways that do not involve any monetary contribution. The group that falls most in line with the Lasallaian mission is refugees that have fled the war-torn nation that are seeking shelter, not just in neighboring countries like Poland, Romania and Germany, but globally, including right here in Philadelphia as families of Ukrainian descent open their doors to relatives forced to flee their homes. However, the standing military and current large influx of enlistments in the Ukrainian military need financial help in any way they can receive it. We will be providing some options to support medical foundations and the providing of medical aid for soldiers defending their homeland. Below, you will find a list of several charities and foundations with a small description of who they are and how supporting them will benefit Ukrainian refugees, civilians and soldiers:

Revived Soldiers Ukraine

Revived Soldiers Ukraine

“Revived Soldiers Ukraine is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing aid to the people of Ukraine so that they may fulfill fundamental rights and freedoms such as right to life, right to appropriate and affordable medical care, freedom of belief and freedom for an adequate standard of living.” Money donated to RSU will go directly to medical aid and living supplies to soldiers in Ukraine.

Razom for Ukraine

Razom for Ukraine

Razom means “together” in Ukrainian, and was established as a non-profit seeking to “unlock the potential of Ukraine.” Since the 2014 invasion of Crimea by Russia, Razom has been supporting refugees and volunteer groups to better the lives of those whose lives were upended by Russia. Now, they have been continuing this mission by assisting families who are choosing to stay in Ukraine, as well as those that were forced to flee.

UNICEF

UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was created in 1946 as an effort from the U.N. to assist children who were orphaned, injured or displaced as a result of World War II. UNICEF is the leading children’s aid charity in the world, and in 1965 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Any money donated to UNICEF will go toward supporting children across the world, with a particular campaign being put forth right now to help youth in Ukraine.

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is a world renowned non-profit that provides medical assistance to those in war-torn nations across the world. Currently, the organization has a special effort in Ukraine in which they are setting up emergency response teams in Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in order to assist refugees.

Non-monetary aid

Sky News

Obviously these organizations are currently in need of money, and this is the most effective way to support them. But, alongside praying and educating yourself on the situation, sharing any fundraising effort on social media will put eyes on it that were not there before. Any of the organizations listed above are good ones to share to your stories or pages, and here is a list of some others you may want to get behind. Also on social media, there are posts going up every minute containing misinformation or blatant propaganda related to this situation. Rather than just ignore this or the infamous “Russian bots,” if you see something, say something. Use Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and other sources to your advantage by educating others in the comments and using the built in reporting system to eliminate misinformation. Always follow trusted sources, and be sure to verify reports regarding developments in Ukraine from multiple sources before sharing it to social media. I know not everyone can contribute financially, but we also know it may seem frustrating to feel like you cannot help in any way. But, we as a community can contribute to aid efforts like Ukraine aid through the transfer of knowledge, which is just as important as funds when done properly. Everyone can contribute in some small way, and this is your charge to do so. Live up to the La Salle name. Help Ukraine.

Making progress: The Collegian’s history of reinvention — Editorial

Editorial

The Editorial Board

Header Image: The Collegian’s first issue

The Collegian took a major step forward this week as a student publication, and while it doesn’t seem like a major change, it has been in the works for a long time, and we as a news outlet are going to continue growing and changing at a rapid pace as a result. We are now hosted on thelasallecollegian.com and are in possession of the domain itself. While a website name change is not a major change, the abilities we now possess as an outlet have increased exponentially. Here’s why it’s important:

The Collegian started as an all-print, all-student newspaper in the ‘30s that would report on everything from hard hitting university politics to school dances. We ran horribly ignorant advertisements in order to stay afloat, with branding for cigarettes and local bars promoting sexist, and even racist stereotypes. But, like any newspaper, we matured, we found our way and we changed the way we presented ourselves. Many, many changes washed over the Collegian since its founding in the ‘30s, including ways in which we were allowed to present information, the addition and removal of major sections, the addition and removal of military participation reporting from the La Salle community and many shocking changes regarding the editorial staff. As a student-run paper, the staff turnover is expectedly sky high. But, it’s the legacy that past editors, editors-in-chief and writers leave behind that keeps the vibe, tradition and customs of the Collegian consistent despite constantly moving in fresh faces.

It could be argued that in 2020, when the Collegian transitioned completely away from printing on news stock to publishing on a database, the paper underwent its most major change to date. Our editorial staff at the time, led by Jacob Garwood, ‘20, worked incredibly hard to make the transition acceptable. The style, software, workflow, design choices and presentation of the paper had to be completely upended, and we needed a way to get the news out to the community. A few members of the staff took on a majority of the formatting work, while the rest of the editors had to adapt to an asynchronous editing style that limited interactivity and creativity. Overall, everyone on the staff was put up against a wall, but we continued to publish, and never missed a beat. The following year, our editorial staff, led by Bianca Abbate, ‘21, had a tough choice to make: When we return to campus, do we print again?

LSUCollegian via Twitter
Throwback to when the Collegian frontpage was in yellow.

Well, luckily, the pandemic made that choice for us, as printing costs shot up to unfathomable rates and the students’ activities fee was chopped. So, it looked like we would be staying online for a while. In January 2021, this website went up, and we have had the exact same style, visual look and method of editing/distribution since. That was largely because we have been operating on $0 of spending, and have been using a free-to-use website template to present the news to the community. 

Now that we have secured more funding and have been able to acquire thelasallecollegian.com and upgrade our site, we might be going through another one of those major changes. Perhaps the most important aspect of this is that our stories will now be securely archived. Almost every issue of the Collegian as far back as the ‘40s is securely archived both on paper and digitally through the Connelly Library, Learning Commons and held within the Collegian’s office. This was simple enough to do on paper, but now that all of our stories are presented digitally, there was worry that one day this website would lapse or we would expend our data limit and all of our current history would vanish. 

Another major development is that we can now customize our presentation with a lot more freedom. Currently, we are working with a student from the digital arts program at La Salle to completely overhaul our branding, and will move into the next academic year touting a new look, and will be able to stand next to the Drexel Triangle and the Temple News for the first time in years, and not seem behind-the-times visually.

For the time being, we are staying in a completely online format, which we know might upset some of our longtime readers, particularly those who were at one point members of the Collegian staff. While having a print paper is nostalgic and stylish, being able to publish online regularly means we can reach the La Salle community far beyond 20th and Olney. We have readers from multiple states, even multiple countries, who are able to read on a weekly basis. We also have the ability to incorporate multimedia elements like videos, the podcast and graphics in ways that previous Collegian staff never could. Now that we have our own web address and upgraded customization options, the quality of this multimedia will continue to rise, and we will continue to add new and fresh elements to our stories that make the lack of printing worthwhile. We hope that is a reasonable compromise.

As well as a number of managerial and editing changes — which we will not bore you with — on a top level, this site upgrade means we are easier to market and advertise, both in terms of audience, but also with writers and potential editors. Because of that mass turnover mentioned earlier, the Collegian is constantly fighting a battle on two fronts: making sure that content is excellent while we are here, and also trying to find the best the La Salle’s student body has to offer to continue that excellence after we graduate. Now that we have a secure footing, a real website and far more potential for creativity, we will be able to bring in many more students to our staff to hopefully continue our legacy. 

In the coming weeks, we will begin experimenting with dynamic changes on the thelasallecollegian.com, as well as start the recruiting process for current and future staff. We ask that, in this time of change, if you know anyone in the Lasallian community that might be interested in writing for any of our sections, or on any topic we don’t currently boast, that you send them our way. Now is the perfect time to begin working with us. We are currently looking to expand our staff into different programs such as those within the schools of nursing and business to better represent the full breadth of the school community, and always, are inviting alumni, graduate students, faculty and staff to write or submit letters to the editor. We are starting the next chapter now, and we can use all the help we can get to ensure our success. Thank you for sticking with us.

Blue and Gold dining troubles: There must be a better way — Editorial

Editorial

David O’Brien, Managing Editor

Header Image: USA Restaurants

After a few weeks of tackling major university changes and the internal politics of the institution, the editorial staff has decided to take a step back this week and discuss something very near and dear to our hearts, and the hearts of the student body: food. La Salle’s on campus population is large and while it does not represent our entire readership, it represents nearly all of our editorial staff, so please allow us to vent this week about the slop La Salle passes as food.

One of the most often-heard complaints around La Salle’s campus revolves around the dining hall. This week the editorial will attempt to address what problems La Salle faces surrounding dining and some possible solutions that will allow the University to resolve them. 

The decline

At the beginning of last semester, it was said by many students that the Blue and Gold Dining Commons was better than ever. No more crusty, run down Beeg, but rather something new, something that had quality. The conveyor belt was fixed, there were no longer rats running around and the food was amazing. Yet, it seemed that this fame was short-lived. Weeks after, the quality of the food significantly went down. Rather than providing high-quality meals, Beeg started pushing out low-quality, mass-produced food that had very little to no taste and had often been sitting for hours. While Beeg is better able to manage the dinner time rush, the quality of the food (including taste) has been greatly sacrificed. The removal of condiment stations, the constant breakdown of drink machines and a general lack of quality have all become trademarks of B&G. For those reading this that aren’t on campus students, B&G is currently the only available traditional university dining hall option at La Salle after the conversion of TreeTops Cafe into a COVID testing site.

One of the major problems with La Salle dining is the constant use of food products that are bound to have poor quality in any dining hall setting. B&G should not have a fish option, end of story. Students do not expect food at La Salle to be great quality, they are not asking for organic grass fed beef or fish flown in from the coast. However, there are certain foods, like fish, that need to be good quality in order to be consumed safely. Since the fish at B&G is typically of low quality, many students are fearful of getting sick from it, and it might as well not be served. This editor does not think any student would or does complain if and when there is not a fish option being served.

Now, time for nitpicks

La Salle dining should not push these bizarre meal combinations. There is no reason for there to be hamburger patties on rye while chicken sandwiches are on hamburger buns. That simply does not make any sense whatsoever. People like both chili and pasta, this does not mean they like them together. People may like to experiment, but overall, students like simplistic meals. 

The majority of the time, the person running the burrito station is unable to properly wrap the burrito. It is not too much to ask that the person working this station learn how to properly wrap a burrito so it does not all fall out immediately. This very basic idea that is not too much to ask would drastically improve the quality of B&G dining.

Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, B&G has progressively removed amenities, two of which include ice cream and condiments. While removing ice cream is somewhat understandable due to the weather, many students have found this incredibly frustrating because ice cream is a very predictable dessert which the consumer knows what they are getting every meal. At the beginning of the fall semester, B and G had a plethora of condiments to choose from, but now the options are often only ketchup, mustard and maybe mayo. There is no obvious reason for this shift. The students miss hot sauce, buffalo sauce, honey mustard and other options that have been taken away. Condiments are not very expensive and go a long way when it comes to the dining experience. B&G should bring back ice cream and condiments because they radically improve both the bland and more erratically bizarre meals served in the dining hall.

Why it’s important

According to a study from the American Psychological Association 41.6 percent of college students suffer from anxiety disorders. Additionally, sources ranging from Harvard University to BBC News have stated that poor nutrition is a primary cause for stress. So, while this may seem like a petty callout, we genuinely mean it when we say that this editorial needs to be put out there just to show the student body that they need to speak up to get better, predictable food options, not just to be more comfortable, but to take one more stressor off their plates in this time where stress comes from seemingly every corner. We know students who will actively skip meals if B&G is their only option, particularly during exam season, which is just unacceptable. If B&G was improved, not only would college students be healthier and better fed, but campus-wide mental health issues could also decrease. 

The University should not only improve B&G for the sake of students’ diets and nutrition, but also for their mental health. We are not asking for La Salle to change its budget to give us more expensive foods. We are not even asking for wider varieties of foods. We are just asking for basic changes that would drastically improve the quality of life for the students both physically and mentally. A proper diet is necessary for good health. It is hard enough to maintain one with all of the stressors of the post-COVID world — the least the school can do is provide food that is actually edible for the students of La Salle.

New community reactions to La Salle’s new president — Editorial

Editorial

Now that the dust has settled on the announcement, what is the general perception of Dr. Daniel J. Allen?

The Editorial Board

Header Image: La Salle University

Last Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, the La Salle community received an announcement that the Board of Trustees, with cooperation from the Presidential Search Committee (PSC), had chosen La Salle’s 30th president to be Dr. Daniel J. Allen of DePaul University. For full details on Allen’s announcement and career, please see last week’s editorial and news sections.

As last week’s issue of the Collegian was coming together, the announcement was still fresh, and the Editorial Board had just come off of a short discussion with Allen regarding his intentions at La Salle and reactions to the announcement, but now that a week has passed, many more students, faculty and members of the university community have gotten a chance to share their reactions and thoughts on the subject.

Students

Before we share some official statements and comments from students on social media and La Salle’s forums, allow a member of the Editorial Board to share some anecdotes that are somewhat telling of how the current La Salle student body has reacted to the announcement:

“I was seated in a classroom filled with honors seniors, and when the topic of President-elect Allen came up, I was shocked that more than a handful of students responded with ‘Who?’ or ‘We have a new president?’ It seems like some of the students in the room were out of the loop with the announcement, which shocked me as someone who had spent the whole last week reporting on it and discussing it with fellow students. Beyond this, though, many students who were aware of the announcement were either indifferent or were unaware of many details of Allen’s career and reasons for being chosen. To be honest, a majority of people in the room didn’t even know his name. Of the few who were dialed in, the general consensus was that we were all cautiously optimistic about Allen’s abilities, and hope to see some improvements over former President Dr. Colleen Hanycz’s previous plans and initiatives. I wish this was the consensus with everyone on campus, but even at lunch in the Union or in classes with people I don’t know that well, many, many students appear to be unaware that we have a new president incoming, or are only familiar with the fact that we do, but none of the details about him.” – Jakob Eiseman, Editor-in-Chief for the Editorial Board.

We have seen some mixed reactions online, with some positive comments about Allen being publicized by the university, including one from a student member of the PSC, senior Aaron Srinivasan, who said, “I envision that Dr. Allen will work closely with the student body, amplifying our voices. He is someone who will inspire enthusiasm from students and faculty alike with a collaborative and bold vision for the future of La Salle that sticks to its historic roots.”

Senior Isabelle Pope, president of La Salle’s Student Government Association, said, “his overall values and vision align with what La Salle is and is striving to be. Though I will be graduating in May, I am looking forward to seeing positive changes that Dr. Allen brings to our community.” 

The Collegian’s News Editor Kylie McGovern said “I think that Dr. Allen is a good fit for La Salle and I am looking forward to him hopefully bettering the school.”

Generally, student opinion of Allen seems to us to be somewhere between indifferent and very high. While many students might not be closely following the situation, even those that are only tangentially aware of Allen seem to be hopeful. Perhaps this is a product of the dramatic periods of change the student body had to go to as Hanycz left and under Interim President Tim O’Shaughnessy, or perhaps students are that trusting of the Board of Trustees. We hope to see opinion on Allen rise as time goes on, and will continue to see student opinion on him fluctuate, particularly as he comes to La Salle in April 2022.

Faculty and Staff

Br. Robert Schaefer, FSC, said, “Dr. Allen’s understanding of our Lasallian identity was forged during his time at Lewis University, and his years at the Vincentian-inspired DePaul University has deepened his passion for the transformative power of Catholic higher education. I look forward to working with Dr. Allen to ensure a vibrant future for La Salle University.” Schaefer is not only a lifelong Lasallian, having studied at La Salle College High School and La Salle University, but serving as the principal of Pittsburgh Central Catholic and currently serving in the Christian Brothers’ elected position of Provincial or Brother Visitor for DENA. Schaefer’s comments about Allen’s commitment to mission and optimism for Allen’s role is reassuring, as this is someone who has committed their life to the Lasallian mission and who can be trusted on the subject.

“I was impressed by his ability to thoughtfully and analytically evaluate potential strategies and opportunities with a keen business acumen, while maintaining his prioritized focus on students,” said TiRease Holmes, director of La Salle Residence Life. “His shared insight spoke to the current state of La Salle and the need to lead with bold ambition to tackle the critical work of taking this great institution’s trajectory toward perpetual growth. I look forward to his leadership,” continued Holmes. This expresses the same focus that we had previously mentioned in our previous two editorial columns: that La Salle needs money, badly, but that does not mean we need a president who is focused only on creating revenue plans but cares little for their students and little for the mission of the school. Holmes’ comments, coming from someone who is highly dialed into student affairs, are reason for us to believe that Allen might be the person we were describing.

One quote that was specifically unique and interesting is from Vice Chair AmyLynn Flood of La Salle University’s Board of Trustees. Flood has this to say on Allen’s selection: “In his service to DePaul’s student body, which is strikingly similar to ours, as well as his familiarity with the Lasallian mission and demonstrated commitment to cultivating principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, we concluded that Dr. Allen was an ideal candidate to lead La Salle University into its important next chapter.” Flood, although a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world’s largest accounting firms, did not make a single mention of money, fundraising or growth when she described Allen’s selection. She specifically highlighted that Allen was chosen because his work at DePaul demonstrated the Lasallian mission, and then lists specific fields which it did, including diversity, justice and equity, which are three key points that we have been looking for in a new president and that are vitally important to his success as a Lasallian leader.

Hopefully, as Allen makes visits to the university in the ramp-up to his coming to office in April, and as the university continues to circulate messaging regarding Allen’s goals and plans, students will gain a deeper understanding and general appreciation for the fact that a new president is coming and that means big changes will likely follow. Faculty have been unexpectedly positive about the announcement, but it doesn’t take a super sleuth to find members of the staff that were decidedly against the Hanycz agenda and want to see changes from it. Public criticism toward Allen from professors and staff, while definitely there, is not at a mass degree, which shows that Allen may share a lot of the La Salle community’s positive mindshare. That will make his transition to power much easier.