Inaugural Tiger Talks to give student body chance for open discussion with President Casey

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With only months left before University President Brian Casey moves on to Colgate College, DePauw Student Government decided the time was right for students to be given a chance to check in with Casey.

On Sunday at 6 p.m. in Thompson Hall, DePauw’s first-ever “Tiger Talk” will be held. This event is open to all who wish to attend, and will be an informal discussion between the student body and Casey.

“[DePauw Student Government] has been discussing having an event with President Casey because it is his final year but also because this has been a really inviting year for conversation about things that need to change on campus, things that are happening on campus,” said Erin Mann, DSG’s director of public relations.

Though dates last semester were discussed, nothing was locked in until recently, when in the February 2016 email update from DSG, Sunday’s discussion was advertised as “the opportunity to talk to President Casey or just see the university through his eyes.”

While the event planned for last semester would have taken the form of a “State of the University” address, this semester’s is formatted differently. According to Mann, the time Casey spends making formal remarks will be brief, limited to 15-20 minutes at the beginning. After that, the direction the evening takes will be left in the hands of those students who attend.

“We really want the students to take agency over this conversation,” Mann said. “Ask him the questions they want to ask and want answers to. Considering the fact he only has a few months left, this is a really crucial time for him to be responding to students.”

There is no set end time, in efforts to ensure that all who have questions or points for discussion are allowed their moment.

“We wanted it to be a raw conversation,” Mann said. “There’s really not a lot of structure to it for that reason.”

So far, outreach to the student body in general has been mostly limited to emails. WGRE DJs have also been encouraged to tease the event, and talks with RAs, mentors and the Greek community are in process.

Newly-appointed junior senator Michelle McLane admitted that, while she is aware of the event, “I don’t know what it’s about.”

But Mann hopes that an increased push in advertising for Tiger Talks over the coming few days will be enough to draw a crowd. 

“We’re just hoping that the people who want this response from him take advantage of this possibility,” she said.

DSG, according to Mann, is hopeful that this can be an event that continues in coming years once the new president has been selected.

Once the open-ended nature of the event was explained to McLane, her response was positive.

“We can ask him anything?” she said. “Then I would definitely go. I feel like it would be interesting to see what he’s all about before he leaves.”