|President Michael Ortiz answers questions during Pizza with the Presidents.|
More than 500 students came together with issues and pizza on their mind for the Spring Quarter Pizza with the Presidents. The April 5 noon event in the Quad allowed students to share their thoughts and concerns with university President Michael Ortiz and ASI President Arno Keshishian.
Key issues included financial aid, class availability and Bronco Express service. Other topics centered around student fee increases and the tentative agreement reached by the California State University Board of Trustees and the California Faculty Association.
President Ortiz spoke at length about the cost of higher education in the CSU, which includes a 70+ percent “grant” to each student from the State of California, a point that Ortiz said is often overlooked. While the 10 percent rise in fees may be difficult for many students, Ortiz emphasized that students should continue to bring their concerns about fees to the attention of their legislators.
Students also shared concerns about the Bronco Express, noting that driver breaks were not consistent or did not serve students needs. Police Chief Michael Guerin spoke directly on this topic and noted that the university has a contract with the transportation company, which it will review if students' needs were indeed not being met.
Director of Financial Aid Diana Minor also answered questions, helping to resolve problems with each individual. Minor was joined by other administrators, who directly responded to specific student inquiries.
Another student voiced his complaint about showing up for the first day of a class only to have a different professor than the one who was originally scheduled. President Ortiz sympathized with the student, but also explained how sometimes faculty can be reassigned to teach other courses or participate in research based on college needs.
Throughout the years, Pizza with the Presidents has evolved to a popular event for addressing student concerns. The quarterly Q/A session includes a version during Winter Quarter for evening students. The next Pizza with the Presidents will be in the fall.