Sports Commentary: Men’s Basketball in bottom half of A-10’s again 

Commentary, Sports

Enrique Carrasco, Editor 

Before reading this article, I heavily recommend reading my previous article, “Opinion: Why the Athletic Department Made the Wrong Call,” to understand the significance behind the Men’s team’s success.

If any of you are familiar with my work, you will know I am an avid hater of the Men’s Basketball program at La Salle. While I must admit that some of my comments against the team are due to a personal vendetta against the program and the Athletic Department, none of my comments nor my negativity against the basketball team have ever been misplaced. I have seen this team fail to live up to their hype for three years in a row, and I feel confident that the basketball team will continue this downward spiral long after I leave 20th and Olney. 

Because of this avid hatred, I never fell for the “Our Men’s team is actually good this year” lies that have been floating around campus all season long. I said from day one the team will continue to disappoint all season long, no matter who they bring in to coach and what second-hand talent from other schools they manage to trick into coming to La Salle. Slowly but surely, the Men’s team has continued to prove me right about my hatred for them, and I would be remiss not to admit that their failure brings me joy. 

It is hard to exactly place when the hype train for the basketball team began. Still, I believe it began around January, when the team managed to pull an enormous upset and beat Rhode Island 77-75 in overtime. The team continued to grow this hype when they managed to beat UMASS 78-77 on the road. Considering both schools’ success in previous years, these two wins were significant, and it seemed like the men’s teams might be actual contenders for the A-10 championship. But if we look at the current rankings, Rhode Island is second to last place (we lost to them during our second face off), and UMASS is only one spot above them.  After these two wins, the men’s team went on a (I must admit, somewhat impressive) 5 win streak, putting the team at the cusp of being one of the top teams in the conference. The only thing the team had to do was either defeat George Mason, Duquesne, or George Washington. This was when the school started pushing the narrative that the men’s team was good and could compete against big teams. I, however, was not convinced about their ability and told multiple people to “just wait” and assured people that “the team will fail soon enough, you just have to give them time.” 

To the surprise of very few people, the team did, in fact, fail. They failed to win against George Mason on the road, stop Duquesne from putting up 91 points at home, and failed to at least stop George Washington from putting up 92 points on them on the road. The Explorers dropped from one of the top contenders in their conference to number ten within the A-10’s, once again proving their talent is nothing more than bottom tier. If you recall the article I mentioned early, you’ll be able to remember that the Athletic Department praised the improvement of the experience for the athletes and team that remained after the Title IX fiasco. Yet, it seems that the athletic department only wanted to make the experience better for the basketball team rather than give actual funding to other teams, and the results of which can be seen in the results from not only the basketball team, but also all of our other sports. No single team that remains on campus had a winning season (none even went above .500), and the teams that are currently active are failing to produce any form of momentum or winning streaks.  The men’s team has two regular season games left, one on the road against Dayton (currently ranked 3rd in the A-10s) and their senior night against Loyola Chicago (currently ranked last in the A-10s), meaning the best record the team can finish with is 15-16 in the season, a game short of being .500 . I must admit, I would not be surprised if the men’s team managed to lose both games in the season, pushing themselves even further down in the A-10 rankings. 

Dean of the school of Arts and Sciences plans to step down from her position in July 2023

Pamela E. Barnett, Ph.D. via La Salle University

Kylie McGovern, Editor 

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, President Daniel J. Allen, Ph.D. announced via email that Dr. Pamela Barnett, Ph.D. who is the current Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences plans to step down from her position in July 2023. Barnett has given La Salle 5 years of service as the Dean since her arrival in 2018.

 Barnett’s time and success here at La Salle can be chronicled by accomplishments like the addition of new academic programs like the master’s degree of Social Work, the bachelor’s degree of Science in Actuarial Science, as well as minors in Translational Science and Black Studies. In her time as Dean, Barnett also implemented community building within the school like the addition of faculty retreats, faculty learning communities, and increased faculty diversity. Additionally, Barnett increased grants sought and received within the School of Arts and Sciences. Although replacing a leader like Barnett will be challenging, The Provost’s office will update the La Salle Community in November about the logistics of the search process for a new Dean of Arts and Sciences.

After she concludes her time in July 2023, Barnett hopes to return to La Salle in a new role as an English professor. In addition, Barnett also wants to teach classes in the new black studies minor. After receiving degrees from Barnard and Emory University, Barnett began her career teaching at various colleges like American University and The University of South Carolina. Before coming to La Salle University, she worked as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences while teaching English at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. These experiences propelled Barnett into her role at La Salle and allowed her to use her talents in research, writing, inclusivity, and organization in these roles to which La Salle and the staff at the collegian are grateful. A Senior writer here at the Collegian, Nya Griffin explains that Barnett “will be missed deeply as Dean of A & S, and I will miss her strength in office as a woman and showing women on campus that we can do it!” 

Editor’s note: As an Arts and Science student I wish to extend both my gratitude and congratulations to Dean Barnett. I personally love seeing female leadership here at La Salle and think that both the diversity/inclusivity and financial work Dean Barnett has done during her time will create posterity for the school of A&S. I would love to take a class with Barnett if she joins the English department. 

La Salle’s troubling lack of counseling services for fifth-year students


Elizabeth McLaughlin, Editor

La Salle boasts multiple 5-year programs. But they don’t offer free counseling services to students in their fifth year. Why?

Many students in their fifth, and final, year of their program — whether that be Communication Sciences and Disorders, Secondary Education or Social Work, to name a few — also attend La Salle for their undergrad. In other words, these students are used to utilizing services such as the counseling and health centers as means to cope with their ever-stressful lives in both academia and the workforce. Some of them build profound and valuable relationships with their counselors, meeting with them on a weekly basis.

These students continue paying tuition, obviously, and they also continue paying the university fee and student activities fee — but once they officially enter their fifth year, they can’t see their counselor anymore. Now, if their counselor has a private practice, they have to pay out-of-pocket to continue maintaining their mental health. If their counselor doesn’t have a private practice, students are met with a dead end. 

According to Thervo, an average therapy session in Philadelphia costs between $60-$120 per session. Say a student meets weekly with their counselor throughout the school year; based on two 16 week-long semesters, that rounds out to $1,920 to $3,840 spent out of pocket on therapy per year. For many of my out-of-state friends, their insurance won’t cover a dime of therapy costs. I don’t know a single college student who could manage that extra cost on top of everything we already pay to this university. 

So why doesn’t La Salle offer the same counseling and wellness services to its fifth year students that it does to its undergraduates? In September of 2018, La Salle received “a three-year Garret Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Systems Administration, worth over $300,000.” Those three years have passed, and I’m unclear on exactly how La Salle utilized this grant. I have researched and read the plans published by La Salle and the grant manager from 2017 and 2018, but I have yet to find any updates on the program since then.

All of that information on the grant is only supplementary to my point: that La Salle provides no public reason as to why fifth year students cannot access student counseling or wellness services. Instead, they tell students who utilize these services throughout their undergrad, “Good luck! We won’t be helping you anymore.” Or, at least, that’s the impression that one of the students entering her fifth year of the Communication Sciences and Disorders program is under. “I still pay all my fees; I’m actually paying more now than I ever have for school. I pay $1,050 per credit and for some reason, I can’t keep seeing my counselor. It’s beyond frustrating.”

And she’s right, it is beyond frustrating because it’s a liability. Is it really in La Salle’s best interest to not offer free counseling and wellness services to its overworked and underpaid (if at all) graduate students? Another student entering her final year of the five year Communication Sciences and Disorders program showed me her current balance. $9,450 in tuition for 9 credits, plus a $285 “general university fee.” What is that “general” fee going toward, if not a service to help manage depression, anxiety and all the stress that comes with being in an accelerated program?

On Sunday, May 1, I worked my last ever event as a tour guide. Before the admitted students arrived to submit their deposit and commit to La Salle University, my fellow ACEs and I went around the quad, putting up signs with various fun facts about our school. One of the signs reads, “La Salle offers multiple five-year programs.” But what we don’t tell incoming students is that we can’t offer them free counseling services during that rigorous fifth year for their mental wellbeing. We don’t tell them that they’ll reach their final year, feeling more overworked and exhausted than they’ve likely ever felt in their entire life, and that they’ll have to work that out on their own.

Why not?

Lost in translation — Unnecessary limitations on La Salle’s language courses


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

There is a serious desire from students at La Salle to learn foreign languages. I had heard about it in passing through my time taking Russian classes, preparing for Foreign Language Awareness Week and otherwise advertising for language classes whenever I could — students would mention that “I would’ve liked to take German, but they didn’t offer it until after my freshman year and I didn’t see the point in starting it later,” or “I took French in high school and loved it but I could never fit it into my schedule,” or “I saw they used to offer Japanese but it doesn’t seem like they have it anymore,” and on and on and on. But how many students actually want to take foreign languages? How can we figure that out?

Support of interest

Throughout Foreign Language Awareness Week at the end of March, students were able to vote on languages that they would like to learn at La Salle. At events throughout the week, slips of paper were available where students could write their name, major, email and pick, in a perfect world free of scheduling conflicts and other circumstances, what language(s) they’d like to learn from a list of languages that have been offered at La Salle in the past (plus a space to list others). Here’s the results from that non-scientific, self-selection-biased, small-sample-sized poll:

All languages on the list have a number of interested students that meets or, in almost all cases (sorry, German), exceeds the 10-student minimum class size requirement.

When broken down by grade level, the highest interest is among current first-year students, which bodes well for the possibility of having students that continue to be able to take foreign language classes before they graduate. Many respondents to this poll indicated that they want to learn more than one language — an average of 1.73 for current juniors, 1.79 for freshmen, and 2.12 for sophomores.

Students who were at Foreign Language Week events were already more likely to be interested in languages, and therefore these results don’t represent the university as a whole. But, the poll results probably greatly underreport the desire for foreign language classes, because you had to physically be at one of these events to cast your vote, and students who were unable to attend or didn’t know about the events but still want to take language classes had no way of being counted. The point is, this poll as well as anecdotal evidence of “I really wanted to take French, but it was never offered when I had space in my schedule” and “I would’ve taken German if I could minor in it” and “I do Japanese on Duolingo and really want to take it here” show that there are many students who are interested in taking foreign language classes here.

So why aren’t they?

There is no university-wide foreign language requirement, although a couple of majors have their own versions. For example, the International Relations (IR) major includes a requirement for “four courses in Foreign Languages” and the program description section explains that “It requires four semesters of a language chosen by the student (including, for example, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian and others).” Note that it does not specify that it has to be the same language — that will come up again later. 

Economics and International Studies (ECI) requires “three courses in a single foreign language” with the goal that students in that major “will demonstrate reasonable proficiency in a foreign language.” The page devoted to the Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives shows that majors and minors are offered in Spanish, but for other languages (French, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian), courses are only available as electives.

Maybe students just aren’t interested in learning those other languages. Spanish is the most popular, and therefore there are plenty of students who will register for Spanish language and literature courses. But Russian? Italian? Japanese?

When I talked to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Pamela Barnett, she said that, “I would love to see more students taking languages,” but explained that most languages are only offered every other year because of the university-wide policy that classes need 10 students signed up to run. This “scheduling rotation” was put in place because language courses would fill up in the first year but not at higher levels. Barnett said that the 10-student requirement was created because of the “learning that comes from diversity,” and explained that “I don’t want to cancel classes, but they also cannot run with only five people.” “Before the scheduling rotation,” she said, “often we would not have enough students even in the first year. And that meant even smaller numbers at higher levels. When we started to run every other year, the classes became larger and that’s when you get the learning from diversity.”

It’s a sort of chicken and egg problem, then — students aren’t signing up to take these classes, but these classes aren’t being offered. These classes might be offered if there was enough interest in them, but how can a student be interested in German 301 if they can’t even take German 101? These classes have to exist and develop for both the students’ and administration’s sakes.

Well, here’s one of the problems. There are too many entry-level classes offered in some languages, particularly Spanish, and too few beginner classes offered in others. According to Chair of the Global Languages Department, Dr. Vicki Ketz, most students who come into La Salle wanting to take Spanish classes already have some prior knowledge of Spanish from high school or earlier, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to start at the 101 level. The problem is, Spanish professors are told to offer multiple sections of Spanish 101 in the fall semester, even though, in reality, there’s a need for just one or maybe two sections at that level. 

What’s really needed are multiple sections of 102 and 201 in the fall, when new students are coming in, but those classes aren’t offered as often. The schedule is clogged up with classes that aren’t needed and there’s less space for ones that are. But how could the administration know how many classes are needed at certain levels?

We used to have a language placement test. It was optional and, if reinstated, it should probably stay optional, but my guess is that incoming freshmen would elect to take it, because they don’t want to start learning Spanish (or any other language) from scratch if they could instead just take a quick quiz so they’re put into a class that matches the level they’re at. Reinstating the language placement tests would provide the administration with the information they need to make informed decisions on how many sections of each class, and which levels, should be offered.

The placement test could also show that there’s demand for higher-level classes in languages besides Spanish — the very languages that are barely offered because of the impression that if we can’t scrounge up 10 students for French 101, how on earth would we be able to get that many for 102 and 201? Placement tests could show, for languages like French and German that are often offered in high schools, that there are actually more students who have some knowledge of that language than those who are starting from square one and need the 100-level courses. 

If an incoming freshman took several years of German in high school and wants to continue it at La Salle, but only sees German 101 offered, why would they take a class in basic topics they already know? But by not signing up for German 101 in the fall, that appears to show the administration that there’s a lack of interest in learning German altogether, and not the reality that there is an interest, just for higher levels. The chicken and egg are back. 

Repeat for French or Italian or any other language that’s commonly offered in high schools. We probably need to offer more upper-level language courses, not fewer, in languages like these, but the lack of quality placement tests and lack of students signing up for 100-level classes in languages they already have experience in sends the wrong message to those who make those decisions.

The issue is not that we do not have qualified, talented professors to teach these classes. The issue is not that we do not have interested, motivated students who want to take these classes. The issue is that students who want to take these language courses are unable to, that professors are forced to shut down classes when there’s not a certain number of students registered for them, that the administration does not know how many students come into La Salle with prior knowledge in a language and that certain classes are only offered at one time and, given the choice between taking a language class and fulfilling a major requirement, pretty much every student would pick the latter because there’s no way to fit both into their schedule.

This last issue has an obvious solution — coordinate scheduling between the language department and other departments that often see conflicts and also interest, particularly the departments that consistently see the most overlap (if I had to guess, I’d say political science). That way, a student won’t have to choose between Japanese 101 and Intro to Microeconomics. They can get more of what they want out of their education.

The scheduling conflict appears in other ways, too. For students in the Honors Program, a certain number of Honors electives are required for graduation and, especially in sophomore and junior years, fitting these electives into a schedule is prioritized over just about everything besides major-specific classes. Add in the required Honors Triple classes freshman year (History, Philosophy and English) and there are not many slots left to get started on a language.

If you want to learn a language you don’t have prior experience with, you really ought to get started as soon as you can. I was lucky my freshman year — Russian 101 was offered in the fall, and, with some adjusting around my Honors Triple and econ classes, I was able to take it. But, I also know that a lot of that was just good luck. If freshman year and sophomore year are full of major classes and Honors electives so that language classes don’t fit or aren’t offered that school year altogether, what can be done to fix that problem?

The lack of space in Honors students’ schedules applies to more than just language courses. The Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives offers much more than straight language courses. The department also teaches, for example, classes in literature from different parts of the world, centered around a theme such as a particular time period or social topic. Are these courses cross-listed, as a variety of courses from most other disciplines are, with Honors courses to make them better available to students in the Honors program? No.

Courses from the Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives have not, at least in the past four years, been offered as Honors electives. Allowing cross-listing between the Global Languages electives and Honors electives will bring more students into these electives as Honors students would be able to take classes that would be very difficult for them to find space for otherwise. In addition, by taking Honors electives through the Global Languages Department, Honors students might then find an interest they wouldn’t have tapped into otherwise, and come back to the department to take foreign language courses.

Here’s another suggestion: reduce the minimum student requirement for foreign language classes. Changing these requirements might seem like a Band-Aid solution — sure, the seven students who want to take French 101 this year can take it, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of them are going to graduate, and a couple more won’t be able to put it into their schedules next year, and if a class can’t run at the 100 level, then there’s almost no way it’ll work at the 200 level (barring the reinstatement of the placement test, which could show enough students who test into higher levels).

I’m not saying a class should exist if only two people want to take it, but the professors teaching these language classes should be able to give input on what the minimum number of students in a class should be for it to make sense to hold it. Language involves dialogue and it helps to learn a language with others — but how many others? Would four students in a class be enough for some language courses? Six? Should it really be 10? That should be up to the professors of these classes to decide, as they know the dynamics of teaching a foreign language to a group.

Allowing smaller language classes also helps fulfill the requirements for certain majors — for example, the course requirements for the IR major. By allowing smaller classes to run, those four required language classes could be all within the same language.

But, as it stands, IR just requires four courses of a language. But let’s say you come in undecided and make that your major sophomore year, or you pick it up as a second major sometime after your freshman year. You want to learn German to meet the IR language requirement, but the intro classes are only offered every other year, and it’ll be next year before it happens again. Now you’re stuck with a choice — take a language you’re not as interested in to try to get four semesters of the same language and have some sort of proficiency in it, or take two semesters of something else now and take two semesters of German next year. It still fulfills the IR requirements, but it doesn’t really mean you’ll have a high level of ability in those languages and therefore doesn’t fulfill the point of having the language requirement in an IR major.

Allowing smaller language classes to run could also increase the likelihood that more students want to take those classes in the future as word of mouth and free advertising follows — I told all my friends, foes and other companions they should be taking Russian if they could. Adding the ability to get a minor in these other languages could also increase enrollment in these less-offered languages. It’s true that the skills you gain from studying a language don’t depend on if your official transcript lists them as a minor  — if you can speak Italian, you can speak Italian, irrespective of if you officially have a “real” minor in Italian or not — but the fact that it’s impossible to minor in any language besides Spanish is pretty disheartening.

One of my friends said that, although they took a language in high school and considered continuing it here, they’d rather take six courses from a program that would show up on their transcript, not six courses in one that wouldn’t. Another friend explained that “I really wanted to take Italian, but didn’t because I couldn’t minor in it.” Adding minors in these other languages would show that La Salle is committed to helping students learn a foreign language.

This last point is particularly important, as a quick search of some other universities in the area (Temple, St. Joe’s, Drexel and UPenn) reveals that Temple offers majors and minors in German Language and Cultural Studies, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish, and minors in Portuguese and Arabic. St. Joes has majors and minors in Italian and Spanish, a major in Francophone Studies, and minors in Chinese Language and Culture and German. Drexel provides minors in Arabic, French, Italian Studies, Japanese and Spanish. UPenn has majors and minors in Chinese and Japanese, majors in French and Francophone Studies, Russian and East European Studies, Italian Studies and German and a minor in Korean. By only offering a major and minor in Spanish, La Salle is not nearly as appealing to incoming students who want to study other languages.

Here’s another possible solution, one that would probably take a lot of logistical legwork to figure out and a lot of paperwork to implement, but would certainly have far-reaching and long-term benefits: a foreign language requirement for most, if not all, majors.

It would be difficult to find a field of study that would not benefit from knowledge of a foreign language. A case can be made for adding a foreign language requirement to just about any major offered at La Salle, some easier to justify than others — international business, for some reason, does not have a foreign language requirement despite having ‘international’ in the name itself — and it’s pretty easy to emphasize the increased job and research prospects that would come along with speaking another language if your major is something else business-related, or political science, or history. But why should a biology major learn another language? If you’re studying math, what’s the point of taking language classes?

An alumnus of La Salle’s Global Language Department explained it like this:

“In the sciences, there was a period when mathematics and chemistry majors had to take a second language, as did biology majors who were not medical school bound. Why? To advance in their careers, mathematicians and scientists needed to be able to keep abreast of the most recent research, which included that done outside of the U.S., much of which was not translated into English. The same logic also applied to other fields as well. Those seeking advanced degrees in economics, political science and sociology who wanted to go to a top-tier graduate program needed proficiency in a second language to complete their M.A. and/or Ph.D. requirements.”

“We need to re-look our position on foreign languages,” they continued, “not simply because they open otherwise closed doors to careers, but more because not allowing students to take the courses in the languages they choose hurts the students’ prospects for succeeding in graduate schools as well. Most reputable graduate programs require their M.A. and Ph.D. candidates to pass a proficiency exam in a language other than English.”

Another alumna, Bianca Abbate, ’21, echoed these statements. “The importance of foreign language education cannot be understated,” she explained, “knowing foreign languages is not an accessory. It’s a practical and marketable skill that opens doors for people. La Salle does a disservice to its students when it fails to recognize that.”

I don’t think the provost, dean, admissions department, registrar, Honors Program or any other department or office at this university is malicious or actively working against students as they try to learn a foreign language. I doubt some of them even know all the different layers to these situations. But I do think that the changes that should be made need to be initiated by these groups. There are a lot of issues, complications and poorly-handled situations at play here, but there are a lot of solutions to them, too. 

La Salle University: you want your students to be outward-looking, global citizens, who work with and for others to fight injustice and improve the world. Foreign language skills are an invaluable aid in pursuing these goals — make the study of foreign languages possible.

You look so stupid with your mask on your chin


Elizabeth McLaughlin, Editor

Header image: Olmsted Medical Center

Make a decision: mask or no mask? I’m going to leave the science up to the public health experts and virologists; I’m not interested in making a case for masks (even though I will continue to wear mine until the data shows that I don’t have to). Why am I not interested in making that case? Because everyone is getting unique information. There is no guarantee that I am reading the same news as my neighbor, and doesn’t that fact take away from its legitimacy as news? We lack a shared reality these days, and when we’ve got a killer virus on our hands, that fact is terrifying. But that’s not why I’m writing; that’s fodder for a later article.

The purpose of this article is to ask my fellow Lasallians to make a choice. If you’re going to wear a mask, wear it properly; otherwise, what’s the point? I’m trying to understand. Everything we do and wear sends a message, and the message sent by wearing your mask around your chin is that you don’t, in that moment, care to avoid contracting an airborne virus. I can understand wearing a mask properly and then pulling it down on your chin to eat or drink, or when you’re struggling to communicate and you really need the added clarification provided by seeing your mouth. But why walk around, why teach a class with your mask around your chin? I genuinely don’t understand.

It can’t be a form of “virtue signaling,” to use a buzzer term as of late. It can’t be, because what virtue are you trying to communicate? People who choose not to wear masks may look at those who do as sheep; as people who lack the values of personal liberty that so dutifully reinforce our social, political and economic fabrics. Some people who choose not to wear masks look at those who do as performative and over-reactive. Some people who choose to wear masks (in spite of the university saying we don’t have to) view those who don’t as pig-headed and selfish. Individual liberty and the collective good. Those are the virtues at conflict.

But wearing it around your chin? Pick a side. Do you believe you and the community are safe enough without the added barrier provided by masks, or do you believe we have to keep this up indefinitely? Pick a side, make a decision. Your mask is doing nothing for you on your chin, except for prompting me to write this article.

The difference between $300 and $600k


Elizabeth McLaughlin, Editor

Header image:

La Salle’s highest-paid employee doesn’t even work here anymore. In the spring of 2018, La Salle fired Dr. John Giannini, the former head coach of the men’s basketball team. Still, thanks to the fine print in his contract, La Salle has been paying his salary each year since his dismissal. According to the university’s IRS 990 form from 2020, he was paid at least $603,217, not including “other compensation.”

And on Jan. 7 of this year, La Salle charged a late fee to my account, clocking in at $150. And, of course, they had to charge me interest on that late fee, to the tune of $10.88. Fast forward to Feb. 7 — I was charged yet another late fee (+ interest). Dear La Salle: if I wasn’t able to make the base payment without any late fees back in January, what makes you think I’m suddenly in the financial position to shell out an additional (and I believe arbitrarily-determined) $321.76?

For brevity and simplicity, let’s round that out to $300. $300 in my pocket goes toward groceries and bills and occasionally funding my small business. But my two main concerns as a college student right now are food and shelter. And La Salle’s biggest expense is… paying someone they fired four years ago? It doesn’t match up.

At this point, perhaps you’re thinking, “Liz, do you have a job?” Yes, I did, in admissions. And then the university laid me off at the start of my senior year. Something about “not having it in the budget.” I’m glad Giannini is in the budget, though! Especially given La Salle’s dwindling admissions numbers, it is of the utmost importance that we lay off our student recruiters, right? Wrong. It’s no secret that La Salle is struggling, from both a financial perspective as well as an admissions perspective. So this is my question to the university: how do you justify laying off your budget workers — all of whom are very effective recruiters — while still wasting money elsewhere? I’m not a lawyer, I can’t pretend that I know the terms of Giannini’s contract — but has the university even explored getting out of it somehow? Or, did the university maybe consider not firing him back in 2018…at least get some labor out of him if you’re going to have to pay him regardless? Or was the performance of the basketball team the most important criteria in their decision-making?

I don’t know how the university makes its decisions, but I can say that after nearly four years here, I do know that they prioritize two key areas: its men’s basketball team and its business school. Everything else, I’ve learned, isn’t nearly as important as those two stalwarts. This isn’t an article interested in slandering the business school. Given the high job placement rates that come out of Founders’ Hall, La Salle is getting a really high return on investment on that front. My qualms lie with the team whose record is 40-65 (.381) since coach Ashley Howard was brought on.

My motivation for writing this article didn’t grow out of my personal, unique frustration with the university’s financial decisions; it grew out of the collective. All of my peers are beyond frustrated with the manners in which La Salle goes about squeezing money out of its students, only to turn around and spend it in foolish ways. If the basketball program was better, maybe this would be a different article, or maybe it wouldn’t even be written at all.

But, the fact of the matter is this: Giannini gets $600k while La Salle’s own students struggle to make ends meet. A man who hasn’t worked here for four years gets a yearly salary while student workers get laid off. La Salle’s admission numbers continue to drop to alarmingly low levels while the university focuses its efforts on a team with a bad record. Perhaps the worst part? My peers reading this article lose more and more faith each day in their university to make sound financial decisions. I love La Salle; I always have and always will. But allowing students to lose confidence in the very institution to which they entrust not only their education but also the trajectories of their careers is bad policy. And it doesn’t take a finance major to know that paying Giannini without receiving any services from him is bad practice; it’s bad for the financial statements and even worse for student morale.

Luckily, Financial Aid was able to waive one of my two late fees. I’m still trying to come up with the extra $160 that would otherwise go toward PECO, PGW or rent. I’ll figure it out. I just hope La Salle does, too.

The results are in — responses to our first Collegian community survey


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

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Two weeks ago, we published the first in what will (hopefully) be a series of anonymous surveys for the La Salle Collegian community to share their opinions on a variety of topics. For the inaugural survey, what better topic than something we haven’t stopped hearing about and thinking about for the past couple of years — online classes, COVID-19 and La Salle’s reaction to it all?

The survey was available on the homepage of the Collegian website and was taken by about 70 people. Around 40 were current students who had taken at least one semester of completely online classes and at least one semester of completely (or mostly completely) online classes. The rest were professors, staff, alumni, friends and family of students or students who had only taken online or only in-person classes. This number of responses is just a small collection of Collegian readers and students and is not necessarily representative of the entire University. However, there are still some interesting insights and patterns shown through the responses.

The majority of the topics in the survey, which were only shown to students who had taken at least a semester of online classes as well as a semester of in-person classes, compared online and in-person learning in a variety of ways. Statements were presented with a Likert scale with the responses “strongly agree,” “somewhat agree,” “neither agree nor disagree,” “somewhat disagree,” “strongly disagree” and “I don’t know/this doesn’t apply to me.” At the end of the survey, all respondents could also share whatever other information on these topics that they wanted the Collegian to know.

To try to reduce possible bias from the ways the questions were phrased, for each topic, half of the respondents received a statement asking about online learning compared to in-person learning, while the other half of the respondents received the same statement but reversed, so it asked about in-person learning compared to online learning. For example, a statement about mental health was phrased as “my mental health is better during online classes than it is during in-person classes” for half of the people who took the survey and “my mental health is better during in-person classes than it is during online classes” for the other half. Since the comparison was between just those two choices, a response of “strongly agree” to one ‘version’ of the question means that, at least logically, that same person would have answered “strongly disagree” if they had been asked to respond to the reversed statement. For that reason (and to cut down on the number of charts in this article), all results will be presented in terms of in-person vs online versions of the statements, with all responses to both versions of the question combined.

Here are the results.

“My mental health is better during in-person classes than it is during online classes.”

The majority of students who responded to this question thought that their mental health is better during in-person classes than it is during online classes.

“My professors’ office hours are more convenient in-person than online.”

The highest number of students were neutral on this statement. However, more students thought that online office hours were more convenient than in-person office hours.

“My professors’ office hours are more helpful in-person than online.”

While a high number of students, again, found this statement neutral, many more students found that office hours were more helpful in-person instead of online.

“It is easier for me to work on schoolwork when classes are in-person instead of online.”

The majority of students found it easier to work on schoolwork when classes are in-person.

It is easier for me to work (at a job) when classes are in-person instead of online.”

The responses to this statement were more varied, but most students thought that working at a job was easier when classes were online.

“It is easier for me to join clubs and extracurriculars when classes are in-person instead of online.”

Again, the majority of students who answered this question find it easier to get involved with clubs and extracurriculars in-person (although, during online classes, many groups, including the Collegian, did meet and organize online).

“My grades, overall, are better when classes are in-person than when they are online.”

This statement had an even split of agreement and disagreement — while eight respondents were neutral, 11 agreed and 11 disagreed in some capacity.

“It is easier for me to connect with my classmates when classes are in-person instead of online.”

Just one respondent disagreed with this statement.

“In-person classes are more interactive than online classes.”

This topic was shown to both students and professors who took the survey, and both groups overall agree that in-person classes are more interactive than online classes. One respondent at the end of the survey made a note that “online classes can be very interactive if the professor knows how to set them up that way.”

All people who took the survey, regardless of if they are students or not, were able to answer questions about La Salle’s distribution of COVID-19 information, contact tracing and COVID-19 testing policies and if they knew who to contact if they had questions on any of those topics.

“La Salle’s distribution of information about online classes, COVID-19 policies and other related topics has overall been up-to-date.”

A majority of respondents thought that this information has been distributed in a timely manner.

“La Salle’s distribution of information about online classes, COVID-19 policies and other related topics has overall been helpful.”

While more people agreed than disagreed with this statement, there was still a fair number of respondents who did not think the University’s information about these topics has been helpful.

“If I have a question about La Salle’s COVID-19 policies, I know who to contact or where to find the information.”

Most respondents seemed to know where they could have their questions answered, although several were also confused and unsure. For current information on La Salle’s COVID-19 policies, check this page.

The last statement students were shown asked them to choose between all online or all in-person classes for the current semester.

“All things considered, if I had to choose between either all in-person classes or all online classes for this semester, I would choose in-person.”

A large majority of respondents prefer in-person classes over online ones for this semester.

“I think that online classes don’t work,” explained one respondent at the end of the survey. “My experiences with online classes have been well,” wrote another. Someone else thinks it is necessary to “keep online classes and accommodations accessible for disabled students and those at highest risk,” and another wrote that it is important to remember that “there is inherent risk to everyone once a person walks outside their home or dorm.”

Although the sample size of this survey is certainly not large enough to represent the campus community as a whole, the results and patterns in the responses are still interesting. Here are my main takeaways.

Overall, the Collegian community, or at least those tuned in enough to respond to this survey, seems to think the University is doing a pretty good job distributing up-to-date and helpful information. Most students who took this survey reported that, in in-person classes, their mental health was better, joining clubs and extracurriculars and connecting with classmates was easier and it was easier to work on schoolwork. However, while classes were online, most respondents found it easier to work at jobs, and many found that online office hours are more convenient than in-person ones. Whether classes were online or in-person didn’t seem to have a consistent effect on students’ grades and, all things considered, the vast majority of students who took this survey would prefer completely in-person classes over totally online ones for this semester.

Many factors have influenced La Salle’s decisions about online classes and COVID-19 policies over the past two years, and some of those factors were certainly not covered in this survey. However, I think it is important to see what students, professors and others in the La Salle community think about changes and policies. We regularly receive surveys from the University about topics like Residence Life and dining options on campus, so why not something including some of the topics and themes in this article? These as well as other subjects could provide important insight to administration about what students think about their decisions and changes — because, after all, shouldn’t they be a little bit interested?

If you have any ideas for topics for future surveys, feel free to contact me at the email linked above!

Daniel J. Allen will be La Salle’s 30th president 


Kylie McGovern, Editor 

Header Image: La Salle University

On Feb. 1, 2022 La Salle’s Board of Trustees Chair William W. Matthews, III, ’90, announced La Salle University’s 30th president. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Daniel J. Allen, Ph.D., as La Salle University’s new president. Dr. Allen’s presidency begins April 18. The search for the president was a nine-month long process that concluded with select finalists meeting with stakeholder groups across our broader university community in late January. The board of trustees explains that Dr. Allen emerged as their candidate of choice to lead La Salle University. Matthews explains in his message, “I have every confidence, as does the Board of Trustees, that Dr. Allen will build upon our impressive foundation and elevate La Salle to significant new heights.” In addition, interim president Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85 will serve on the Executive Cabinet and provide support in the transition for Allen.

Since 2015, Allen has served at DePaul University in a vice presidential capacity, ending his career as Senior Vice President of Advancement and External Relations. Prior to that, he worked in Catholic higher education for over 20 years and received education from Catholic universities as he completed his Ph.D. in education with a concentration in higher education at Loyola University-Chicago and his M.A. and B.A. in English literature from Loras College. 

In his previous role, Allen provided, led and managed all fundraising, alumni relations and advancement communications strategies at DePaul University. In addition to his work at DePaul University, Allen served as the senior associate dean for external relations at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy as well as being Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, a Lasallian institution. President-elect Allen has expressed interest in the area of postsecondary educational access for low-income students. In addition, he has presented work on improving opportunities for academically qualified, low-income students to the Association for Institutional Research and has had his research published in “Research in Higher Education.” 

In addition to continuing this work at La Salle University, Allen is looking forward to including the voices of students, those in leadership positions and student organizations when planning for changes and goals. In a discussion with the Collegian editorial board, Allen said that one of his goals is for students to think their time at La Salle University “is as robust and as challenging as it can be” so that “students feel it is a vibrant experience.” In addition, Allen plans on being present on campus by attending student activities and sitting down to talk with students to better know and become part of our community at La Salle University. The Collegian staff welcomes President-elect Allen and looks forward to what his presidency has to offer. For more details of Allen’s sit-down with the Collegian, please look to our Editorial section this week.

Still disappointed in La Salle’s public safety communication


Meghan Cain, Staff

Last semester, I experienced issues with La Salle’s shuttle system and wrote an article expressing my concerns about the lack of proper communication regarding the shuttle hours. I had explained that my friends and I went downtown and had followed the shuttle service hours posted on La Salle’s page, which stated that the shuttle would be running until 3 a.m. Unbeknownst to us, the shuttle hours were changed, and they were no longer running at the time that we were hoping to get a ride. Had the updated hours been posted, and the shuttle tracking app wasn’t removed, we wouldn’t have been left waiting in the dark on the corner of an unsafe street for a shuttle that was not going to arrive.

Following the article, the updated hours were posted online and the shuttle tracker app was made available again, which I am happy about. However, not long after that, my friends and I had walked to the station, as it was still bright out, but were followed on our walk by an older man that we do not know. Luckily, a shuttle driver noticed and pulled over to pick us up. We were happy to have been given a ride, but were uncomfortable with the fact that we had been followed, so we have felt a bit unnerved at the idea of walking to and from the Septa station on our own since then.

On a recent Friday afternoon we wanted to go downtown, so we tracked the shuttle on the La Salle app to take us to the Septa station. We were waiting on campus when the app said the shuttle had arrived nearby, although it had not. We called public safety and asked to be picked up. When we got on the shuttle, we asked how late they would be running later that night to make sure that we could get back in time so that we would not have to walk home in the dark, just in case we got there later than the posted times. We were told that at any time during the day or night we could call 215-951-1300 and that a shuttle would be sent out to us.

When we got back to the Olney station later that night we used the shuttle tracking app, and, again, it said that the shuttle arrived at the station even though it had not. It was only 7 p.m. at that point, and the shuttle is supposed to run normally until 9 p.m., so we assumed there would be no issue getting a ride if we called the number we were given earlier.

We called and were told that unless we had a medical emergency, a shuttle could not be sent out to us. I explained that we were given that number earlier in the day and were told to call at any point for a ride and was again told that a shuttle would not be sent unless there was a medical emergency. We walked back in the dark in 20-degree weather, still uncomfortable about the fact that we had previously been followed and were in an unsafe neighborhood to be walking around in at night.

I have had no problems with the shuttle drivers themselves as they have consistently expressed how much they value La Salle students’ safety, but I am extremely disappointed in La Salle for their lack of communication and their irresponsibility. My primary purpose in writing this article is to make it known that there needs to be more consistency, communication and emphasis on student safety. La Salle may claim that student safety and well-being is a top priority, but they have continuously proved otherwise. There is consistently better communication regarding the beloved basketball team than about something as crucial as public safety — or anything else, for that matter.

Campus COVID-19 Update


Kylie McGovern, Editor  

La Salle University student wearing a mask on campus

On Jan. 5, La Salle University released an update on COVID-19 and the spring semester. This notice included information about a booster requirement, updating vaccine information, testing, masking and student programming. Regarding the vaccine, La Salle University is requiring all members of the campus community receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose within 30 days of eligibility to minimize the number of community members who may become infected or need to quarantine because of exposure. Those who are vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 will have more flexibility with quarantine and isolation protocols per newest CDC guidance. Some members of the La Salle community already have an approved exemption on file with the University and will continue to be exempt, but unvaccinated individuals must either double-mask or wear a KN95 mask while indoors per The Philadelphia Department of Public Health. La Salle University has created a deadline and community members must receive a COVID-19 booster shot and submit verification to the University by Tuesday, Feb. 15.

In addition, Once a member of the La Salle community has received the COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster, students and employees must update their vaccination records on file with the University. In addition, for non-residential students and employees, entry testing is available and strongly encouraged. Testing is available at no expense and without an appointment. In addition to residential student entry testing, The Treetops Café testing center has expanded the hours of operation. 

In addition, unvaccinated individuals are required to complete weekly testing. Students who do not comply with testing requirements will face disciplinary action through Student Conduct. Failure to comply with one test will result in a temporary restriction to campus. Failure to comply with two or more tests will result in suspension. Faculty or staff who do not comply with testing requirements will face disciplinary action through HR with action up to termination. However, there was a 95% vaccination rate as of Dec. 15, so only a small percentage of the community needs to adhere to this testing. 

Furthermore, masks continue to be a requirement in all indoor settings on La Salle’s campus. Since the omicron variant is more transmissible than previous variants, La Salle University recommends surgical-grade masks and KN95 masks. The University has a supply of surgical, N95, KN95, and University-branded cloth masks that are available to students and employees. Limited quantities of each supply can be obtained at the on-campus testing center at Treetops Café as well as in each residence hall security desk reception area and Union Information Desk. 

As for in-person extracurricular activities, student Organization Programs and Meetings will need to be virtual through the end of February. Student organizations are encouraged to wait on hosting in-person events until after February, after a review of the institutional positivity rate has been conducted. However, the university has identified some Office-led events to host in-person to provide some limited safe interaction, and student organizations will be permitted to table in the Student Union Lobby. Overall, with the week of in-person classes, La Salle is operating to best facilitate in-person learning while mitigating the risks of COVID-19.