Farley discusses new campus, iAlert system

Allie Broockerd

Washburn President Jerry Farley held an open meeting with members of the student body Oct. 13. for Fridays with Farley, his monthly event where he discusses current events with the student body in the Union Underground.

Farley began this month’s discussion by reflecting upon his past experiences as a college student. He told students that he did not have much direction when he graduated high school.

“I didn’t even know what college was,” Farley said. “I came from a small town in Southwest Oklahoma and nobody I knew went and neither of my parents went. I liked to take tests, so I took the ACT and they wanted you to write down the three colleges you were the most interested in attending on it. I only knew two, because I had visited them when I was in the marching band. I wrote those two down and the next thing I knew I was enrolled at the University of Oklahoma.”

Farley next discussed his struggle in deciding what to major in while attending OU.

“I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do,” Farley said. “I changed majors several times. I wasn’t thinking about what a job would be like, I just took classes I liked. I started as a math major, then I decided I wanted to be a pilot. After that, I had a friend tell me I should be an aerospace engineer. Well, that was not a good move. I was not cut out to be an engineer at all. I eventually wound up in the business school in accounting.”

Farley believes Washburn does a good job of helping students find their paths in life.

Farley also spoke about an opportunity for Washburn to reach a wider part of the Topeka community.

A building in east Topeka is set to be renovated into another Washburn campus. The new campus will offer introductory healthcare programs, tech programs, truck driving courses and aide in building trade skills. Students will also be able to take GED preparatory courses and the GED test. These opportunities are part of Washburn’s effort to reach a larger portion of Topeka citizens who want to further their education.

“The east side is not feeling the love from Topeka right now,” Farley said. “There have been complaints about no curbs, gutters or street lights in some areas. The idea of the building is symbolic as well as useful. We are willing to reach out and make education more convenient and bring attention to that part of Topeka.”

The iAlert system includes text message, email and phone call services to inform students about incidents on campus was also discussed.

Farley asked students their opinions in regards to Washburn University Police Department’s recent awareness notification bulletin sent via email in response to a sexual assault reported in Lincoln Hall. Police had concluded that this incident was not a threat to others on campus, as the incident involved parties who knew one another. However, the intended purpose of the iAlert system is to send an alert to students during an event that may be a current threat to them, but the iAlert was sent out to keep students informed. Farley questioned students whether or not they felt the iAlert system had been used appropriately.

Zac Surrit, budget director of Washburn Student Government Association and junior public administration major, said that he thought the recent iAlert raised awareness for sexual assault.

“I personally like the way that the iAlert is being done now,” Surrit said. “Students feel like they are being heard. People are becoming more comfortable with reporting rape. WSGA immediately wrote a statement about standing in solidarity with the victim after the report of sexual assault.”

Farley ended the conversation by encouraging students to get involved in the homecoming activities in the upcoming week. The next Fridays with Farley will take place at noon Nov. 3 in the Union Underground.