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WSU updates from President Mortensen

Sara Staker/The Signpost Archives
WSU President Brad Mortensen addressing students about tuition increases and other Weber State matters.

On Nov. 10, Weber State University faculty and staff met for a university-wide town hall meeting where President Brad Mortensen introduced Laís Martinez, from the Utah System of Higher Education, as the new interim vice president of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

“Please know that you have a fierce champion and advocate in me,” Martinez said. “I am someone who is deeply committed to this idea that anyone who wants access to higher education should be able to have it and have meaningful support all the way through to completion. And so that’s my commitment to the campus community.”

The pandemic affected enrollment nationwide, but the good news is that enrollment numbers have been climbing, according to Mortensen. With the fall semester ending, a recent survey shows 83% of students plan to return in spring 2024.

Weber State has recently created a Campus Climate Team which is designed to respond to incidents on campus that take the form of discrimination, hate speech or disruptive behavior. The Campus Climate Team’s website will instantly notify students of any reported hateful or discriminatory incidents on campus and keep them updated on any ongoing investigation.

One of these recent incidents occurred before this town hall meeting. Over 50 Israeli flags were placed along walkways across campus, something that the university did not approve of, and several students raised concerns about this occurrence. These flags have since been removed.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, composed of about 350 public, regional universities from across the country, awarded Weber State University the Excellence and Innovation award for its sustainability program. The goal for the university was to be carbon-neutral by 2050; however, the goal has been moved up to 2040.

The Young Democratic Socialists of America have a petition with over 400 student signatures to eliminate late tuition payment fees. During the Q&A portion of the town hall, the issue was raised as the group had yet to receive any acknowledgment on the subject since the student senate unanimously voted on a resolution to approve it in January 2023.

Mortensen addressed the question.

“We aren’t eliminating late fees,” Mortensen said.

Jessica Oyler, vice president of Student Access and Success, announced that Weber State will launch a website to address late fee concerns. The website will have information about how students can pay for college and how they can avoid late fees. There will also be resources such as a scholarship and FAFSA tool. The new FAFSA tool is scheduled to launch on Dec. 1.

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