'Pizza' Prompts Spirited Dialogue

'Pizza' Prompts Spirited Dialogue
President Ortiz and ASI President Wyrick answers questions from students.
Students listen during Pizza with the Presidents on April 10.
Administrators were also on hand to answer questions.

The latest Pizza with the Presidents on April 10 drew at least 500 students and prompted spirited dialogue on a variety of issues and topics.

Pizza with the Presidents is an opportunity for students to seek out information from university President Michael Ortiz, ASI President Chris Wyrick and other campus administrators. The hour-long question-and-answer format afforded students ample opportunity to ask questions regarding topics such as wireless access on campus, food choices at campus restaurants, class availability, the Rec Center and disabled parking.

“We recognize that students face challenges simply by being college students. They often must balance school with work and other obligations,” Ortiz said. “Pizza with the Presidents gives students a chance to tell us how we can make their college career go as smoothly as possible.”

Ortiz began the U-Hour event with opening remarks congratulating Computer Information System students for their achievements in a CIS security competition. He and Wyrick each reminded students to change their passwords on BroncoDirect so they are more secure.

Ortiz also reminded students that registration for fall will occur in May, but to accommodate the change, student fees will not be due until September. This will allow the university to plan for classes earlier and help address students needs better.

Pizza with the Presidents occurred two days after more than 950 people attended a California State University budget forum in the University Quad. Ortiz took a moment during the lunch to bring that crowd up to speed, citing that proposed cuts to the CSU could result in 1,300 fewer students admitted to Cal Poly Pomona this fall.

“Right now the economy is not in good shape, which explains why our budget is not in good shape as well,” Ortiz said.

The first question from a student regarded a rumor that the College of Science will layoff all student workers this June. Ortiz responded first saying that the university is still unsure what impact the state budget cut will have on the university. College of Science Dean Donald Straney dispelled the rumor, saying that no decision has been made regarding student workers.

One student questioned the need and reasons given for the Recreation Center, a $90 million project soundly rejected in a student election in March. The student stated that he believed more investment should be placed on academics, not projects like the Rec Center.

Ortiz explained that Associated Students Inc. is an auxiliary of the university and funds that support ASI cannot be used for instruction and vice versa.

“We can provide programs that enhance student life on campus,” Wyrick stated. “But we can't impact student life through academics.”

One student questioned mixed messages she received about graduation checks. Her form said it was due April 25, however she has also been told the deadline was April 11.

University Registrar Maria Martinez acknowledged the discrepancy.

“Because the form is wrong we will accept them until April 25, however we strongly encourage students not to wait until the deadline,” Martinez said.

One student requested an update on the reported assaults to two female students in March.

In response, Police Chief Michael Guerin said they are continuing to follow up on these two incidents, which he called “anomalies for our campus. We have a very safe campus.”

He reminded students that the assaults happened at high-traffic areas and the University Police is hoping for more leads from the campus community. “We're making an appeal for more witnesses. Frankly, were running out of tips and running out of leads.”

Another question revolved around the menu changes at Vista Cafe, located near the suites. The student wanted grilled cheese sandwiches back on the menu.

Dining Services Director George Rankin said that the sandwich is going back on the menu, adding that his department would be surveying students for their likes and dislikes about the menu.

The next Pizza with the Presidents will likely be held during fall quarter.