Governor and college students come together for town hall – Louisa D’Ovidio

 

Governor Gina Raimondo visited Rhode Island College last Thursday for a town hall style forum, where students and members of the community voiced their questions and concerns directly to the Governor.

The town hall was hosted by NBC 10 News’ Dan Jaehnig, who usually hosts a segment called ‘Connect to the Capitol’ with the Governor, monthly on NBC 10. This is the first time the segment went “on the road.”

RIC students in the audience asked a number of questions that took the conversation from broad statewide concerns to policy and issues facing students at the college.

Patrick, a RIC Senior, asked about Raimondo’s stance on the new performance-based funding bill which will soon go into effect and stated that he feels what the funding incentivizes “do not correspond with the interests of students,” particularly in regards to non-traditional or part-time students.

Raimondo addressed this concern by claiming that Rhode Island College will not be “punished” for its lower graduation rates under the new bill, but made it clear that “we do want you to graduate.” She described a number of programs, ranging from free bus passes to improved financial aid, which she sees as being integral to making the most of RIC’s performance-based funding.

During the Q&A, RIC senior Taylor pointed out that Rhode Island is one of 11 states that spends more on incarcerations and prisons than it does on public colleges, and asked how the governor plans to address this.

In response, Raimondo stated that, “pretty much everything we’re doing, from making public schools better, to making college more affordable has been one solution to the problem.”

Governor Raimondo and Jaehnig hope to continue bringing the town halls directly to the community and into the fray of public debate.