Presidents Discuss Campus Safety & Course Offerings at Evening Forum

Presidents Discuss Campus Safety & Course Offerings at Evening Forum
University President Michael Ortiz and ASI President Charles Gruver field students' questions about summer quarter course offerings and campus safety.
Nearly 200 students gathered in the Bronco Student Center's Ursa Major Suite to speak with the presidents and enjoy free pizza.

Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz and Associated Students Inc. (ASI) President Charles Gruver answered students' questions about summer quarter course offerings, campus safety and hazing policies, among other issues at “P.M. Pizza With the Presidents” on Feb. 2.

Nearly 200 students gathered in the Bronco Student Center's Ursa Major Suite to speak candidly with the presidents while enjoying free pizza at the quarterly event hosted by the President's Office and ASI. More than 700 pieces of pizza and 200 beverages were served.

In addition, dozens of administrators, staff and faculty were on hand to address students concerns.

In his opening address, Ortiz informed students of the upcoming library renovation project. Construction is anticipated to begin in the next few weeks and will continue for nearly two years. Although the project will cause an inconvenience — noise, library accessibility and alteration of pedestrian walkways —  the end result will be a new library that everyone can appreciate and benefit from, he said.

Gruver shared with students a few projects ASI is working on this year, including a strategic plan to assess what the organization is doing and how it can improve, and a newsletter to communicate with students. In an attempt to engage students in discussion, ASI will host its first campus debate, Double Standards of Men & Women, on Feb. 23, noon to 1 p.m. in the University Quad.

Class availability was a topic that was brought up more than once. Ortiz notified students of a summer course survey they will soon receive via e-mail that will help campus administrators determine the courses and days/times they are offered for summer quarter 2006. He also explained that the university is in the process of creating a two-year class schedule that would allow students to plan ahead. In addition, the university is exploring the idea of a mock registration for students to pre-determine the courses that will be in highest demand.

One student was concerned about the hands-off approach he said some academic counselors take in guiding students. Ortiz said he felt it was necessary for the university to outline exactly what requirements the students need to graduate, and that advising is one area that is being reexamined on campus.As a follow up, Claudia Pinter-Lucke, interim associate vice president for Undergraduate Studies, said her department is in the process of creating a uniform road map for students in each department.

Another issue that was brought up by many students was campus safety. What is the university doing to improve pedestrian safety and lighting on campus? What is being done to ensure that the Children's Center is in a safe location? These were just a few of the questions raised. Ortiz and Police Chief Michael Guerin explained that the university is working with a traffic engineer to analyze traffic patterns on campus and provide recommendations for improvement. Ortiz said the location of the Children's Center is also being reexamined.

“Student safety is my highest priority,” said Ortiz.

One student was worried about automobile thefts on campus. Guerin assured him that University Police are constantly patrolling the campus, although that does not prevent all thefts. He recommended that students — particularly those who drive Honda Accords, Civics and Acuras, which are the most sought after cars by thieves — take additional protective measures such as buying a steering wheel club.

In regards to a hazing question, Rebecca Gutierrez-Keeton, interim dean of students, confirmed that there is a zero tolerance policy for hazing at Cal Poly Pomona and anyone who suspects hazing should notify her office immediately so that all allegations can be investigated.

As a response to all of the issues raised at the forum, Gruver encouraged students to take action and become representatives on campus committees that discuss course offerings, safety, etc.

The next “Pizza With the Presidents” will be held Tuesday, May 9, noon to 1 p.m., in the University Quad.