Presidents Host Their First Lunch Q/A Forum for Students

Presidents Host Their First Lunch Q/A Forum for Students
President J. Michael Ortiz and ASI President Jason Dyogi share a laugh during “Lunch With the Presidents” on Oct. 7.

Hazel Tran eats pizza and listens to questions and answers during “Lunch With the Presidents” in the University Quad.

In the first question-and-answer session for each of the new presidents, Cal Poly Pomona President J. Michael Ortiz and ASI President Jason Dyogi answered students? questions about the budget, tram service, advising, animal research and even the California recall among other concerns in their first “Lunch With the Presidents” on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

Several hundred Cal Poly Pomona students gathered in the University Quad for a chance to enjoy free pizza and drinks and to speak with the presidents at the quarterly event hosted by the President?s Office and Associated Students Inc. More than 150 pizzas and 650 sodas were served, and several dozen staff, faculty and administrators were on hand to help answer some of the students? questions as well.

Several questions related to the CSU budget and its impact on Cal Poly Pomona.

?The university has had to absorb a $15 million budget reduction that is part of a $400 million budget reduction that the CSU has had to absorb,? said President Ortiz.

Despite student fee increases, Ortiz reiterated how much of a value a CSU education is when compared to national averages. Also, to mitigate a burden on existing students, Cal Poly Pomona will be controlling enrollment in comparison to similar budget challenges from the early ?90s.

?What happened in the early ?90s when there was a budget crisis in the state and the CSU was that the CSU did not cut admissions but students were admitted to the campus and had no classes to take,? explains Ortiz. ?So no one could take classes and they just left. What we?re trying to do now is what?s classified as authentic admissions so we?ll enroll only those students who we can find courses for.?

Regarding whether the state budget impacted ASI, Dyogi said, ?Yes, it does. It affects all of us. We had to take internal hits at ASI in order that clubs and councils, organizations and the student services offered to you, such as the tutoring center, the Children?s Center and others will be at your convenience.?

Students wondered about parking issues and were told that a 2,600-vehicle structure would be constructed by fall 2005.

Another question related to the students who are staying at the Shilo Inn while the vandalized Residential Suites building is being completed.

?Those students will have first priority in getting access to the new Residential Suites,? said Doug Freer, assistant vice president for Student Auxiliary Services.

Also on their minds were traffic problems around campus as well as the route and schedule of the Bronco Express tram. Freer mentioned that the service is just eight days old and has several ?kinks? that need to be worked out. However, the current trams are temporary, with five new vehicles scheduled to arrive at the end of October to better meet the needs of students. Although the route runs more along the periphery of campus, the decision took into account student safety, says Freer.

One student brought up the fact that he can pay for fees online and wondered whether registering for classes online is anywhere in Cal Poly Pomona?s future.

?We?re in the process of implementing a software package called PeopleSoft that will allow you to do a number of things when it?s fully running,? said Michael Berman, vice president of Instructional & Information Technology.

?You?ll be able to register. You?ll be able to check the status of your financial aid. You?ll be able to do a number of different things online using Bronco Direct,? he said, noting that the first features will be available in January 2004 with the first class registration starting in Summer Quarter 2004.

Students will also be able to monitor their degree progress online, which will begin as early as October 2004.

President Ortiz ended the forum by turning the tables on students and asking them a question in return.

?Since this is my first quarter here, one question I have for you is, what do you expect from the president of Cal Poly Pomona??

?I would say exactly what you?re doing,? said one student, ?which is giving an open forum for the students to ask questions, listening and responding.?

The next “Lunch With the Presidents” is scheduled in the evening on Feb. 24, 2004.