The spring quarter Pizza with the Presidents event covered a potpourri of topics, from the state budget to traffic lights and the presidential elections to plastic foam plates.
At the U-Hour event on April 24, President Ortiz discussed Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative on the November ballot. If it does not pass, the CSU will face $200 million in trigger cuts.
“Make sure that you decide which way you want to vote on that and know that if it doesn’t pass, it’s going to result in some severe cuts to the university,” Ortiz said. “I hate to say that because again I don’t want to be a pawn in this political situation saying that you need to vote for this. But the fact of the matter is — if it doesn’t pass, then we have a $200 million cut to the CSU and that amounts to $9.4 million for us.”
ASI President Johnathan Jianu urged students to contact their legislators and work with ASI to lobby for higher education. “That $200 million trigger cut would really affect students as well as any cuts to Cal Grants aid, which will really, really devastate a lot of students… So just advocate and make sure that we get our fair share of the budget, making sure that education and higher education is a really big priority for our legislators.”
Other topics at Pizza with the Presidents:
Q: Is it OK to pick lemons from the tree by the Residential Suites?
A: It’s probably not a good idea. The trees, flowers and plants on campus belong to the entire campus community. It’s best to buy produce from the Farm Store or other campus stores. Les Young, dean of the College of Agriculture, asked students to respect the campus. “Respect them because they are part of everybody’s trees. It’s like picking flowers… We’re not going to prosecute you. Just be respectful, I think, is the important thing.”
Q: Why can’t a fine arts student minor in art history?
A: “Stay tuned,” said Michael Woo, dean of the College of Environmental Design. “The art history program is a very high quality program that we would like to encourage to grow.” Woo said a decision is expected soon from the president that will affect the art department.
Q: Can the university install hookups for electric cars on campus?
A: The idea has been discussed internally at Cal Poly Pomona and in the CSU, said Mike Biagi, director of Parking & Transportation Services. He mentioned a CSU-wide initiative that will standardize the format and provide consistency in electrical hookups on the various campuses, which may come with some cost savings.
Q: When can new clubs be chartered?
A: There is a proposal to allow new clubs and organizations to charter in a specified time period. Information about chartering will be available after the proposal is approved.
Q: Why aren’t there traffic lights at the intersection near Building 1?
A: The university spent more than $1 million to improve safety on University Drive, including adding crosswalks. It was the intention to keep the stop signs at the intersection and add solar-powered lights on the crosswalk.
Q: Why can’t graduate engineering students double major in business administration (MBA)?
A: The campus policy is that graduate students cannot get a double major. However, the policy can be reviewed.
Q: If the College of Business Administration is not impacted, why is it getting a new building?
A: Although CBA is not impacted, it is one of the largest colleges on campus and required new classrooms and offices. The building was proposed 10 years ago, and funding comes from a bond that California voters passed in 2006.
Q: What are the university and ASI doing about the presidential elections? Will there be tables for voter registration?
A: Jianu says ASI will encourage students, especially those who live on campus, to register to vote this summer and the fall. ASI is also working to get a polling location on campus in November. Students who want to register to vote can do so at the ASI office in the Bronco Student Center.
Q: Will there be a weighted pay system for classes?
A: The CSU and the Chancellor’s office are staunchly opposed to differential tuition. The only exceptions on campus are students in the MBA program and the doctoral program. The doctoral program’s tuition matches that in the UC doctoral program.
Q: Why is dental insurance not available?
A: Student Health Services is examining its services and how well they line up with students’ needs. It is also working with USC’s vision and dental schools and may partner with them in providing services to students at Cal Poly Pomona. That partnership is about two years away.
Q: Why was Coach Troy Johnson forced to resign?
A: Doug Freer, vice president of student affairs: “I think ‘forced to resign’ is too strong of a term. We had a conversation with Troy and renewing the operations of the programs. He took some time to think about situation with his family and actually notified us of his resignation. Obviously, any time we’re dealing with a transition of coaching, especially … when we’re in the middle of competition season, it is particularly difficult on all of us and especially difficult on the student athletes. Right now our focus has been on supporting student athletes as we go through the last month of competition.”
Q: When will Styrofoam plates be replaced at the salad bar?
A: Foundation Dining is working with the venues to find products that are recyclable and biodegradable. More of those types of products will be available in the fall.
Q: How can students form stronger connections with employers to get a job?
A: President Ortiz suggested students get an internship to demonstrate their skills. The chances of getting hired by a company after graduation go up significantly if a student was a previous intern. Tom Munnerlyn, director of the Career Center, recommended that students take advantage of the services at the Career Center, look for postings on Bronco Connection and put together a well-written resume with clearly defined career goals. Jianu added that getting business cards and handing them out to every prospective employer will help in marketing yourself.
Q: What improvements will be made to the Suites?
A: Although there are no plans to improve the current Residential Suites, the university plans to expand housing on campus. An architecture firm has been secured to design new residential housing to replace the traditional residence halls on University Drive. The new housing, which will come in phases, will be built along Kellogg Drive and include 1,600 beds. Open forums and design workshops for the campus community will be held over the next year.
Q: What is the purpose of the auxiliary fee?
A: The fee pays for operating the Bronco Student Center, and providing staff, programs and services for students. The ASI student fee goes to clubs and councils, their programs and events, campus recreation and the Children’s Center.
Q: Will tuition go up this year?
A: The Board of Trustees said at its last meeting that a tuition increase is not scheduled.
Q: Why can’t students living in on-campus housing set up their own wireless networks?
A: It’s not a good idea to set up your own wireless network because it could cause a lot of damage depending on how it is configured. Wireless access will be set up for the Suites this summer, and plans are in the works for the residential halls. The University Village recently asked for an estimate to install wireless Internet.
Q: Why are there no tampons in women’s restrooms?
A: There is no funding to provide tampons in the women’s restrooms. Also, an outside company would have to provide the service.
Q: Why is commencement held only once a year?
A: It has been the university’s tradition to hold commencement only once a year. However, students who are within 8 units of graduating may apply to walk at the June commencement ceremonies. Students are also encouraged to register and participate in the cultural graduation celebrations, which are typically held a week before commencement.
Q: Are there any delays in the construction of the rec center?
A: There are no delays. The Board of Trustees, at its meeting in July, is expected to give final approval. The center is on schedule for a 2014 completion. The Recreation Center is funded through future student fees, not state funds.
Q: International students often have difficulty registering for 12 units. Can they receive priority registration?
A: Claudia Pinter-Lucke, associate provost, said the university tries to make registration fair for everyone and has measures to ensure that students get at least 12 units. Registration is by seniority (number of completed units). When registration first opens, students are limited to 12 units, then the limit is raised to 17, then 20.
Q: What advice can you give a junior who wants to get a job in his/her field?
A: “A lot of it has to do with how entrepreneurial you are as an applicant,” Ortiz said. He encouraged students to clearly communicate their skills and experience to employers. Also, students should be open to options, such as a related job that isn’t in their discipline but requires similar skills.
Q: Is there a big annual event for alumni?
A: The Alumni Association hosts its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards celebration on Friday, April 27. An alumnus or alumna from each college and athletics is honored at the event. Also, the annual Southern California Tasting & Auction on Sunday, May 6 is a great way for alumni and friends to enjoy the campus and taste great food, wine and beer. Visit www.polytaste.com for details.
Q: What are two things that ASI will do or improve upon next year?
A: Jianu hopes that more students, especially first-year students, will get involved on campus. He hopes that people get to know ASI better. Students who are engaged on campus usually have better grades and have more opportunities to improve their public speaking and interpersonal communication skills. Campus involvement is also a resume-booster and can help in getting a job.
Q: What is your favorite type of pizza?
A: Jianu paused, laughed and said he likes free pizza. Ortiz prefers the meat lover’s pizza.
(Top photo: President Ortiz answers questions during Pizza with the Presidents on April 24. Second photo: Students line up for free pizza. Third photo: ASI President Johnathan Jianu fields a question. Bottom photo: Students listen during the U-Hour Q&A in the University Quad.)