Students were encouraged to attend and submit any concerns, complaints, suggestions or questions to President Crow. At the Downtown campus, a room of about 30 people at the Nursing and Health Innovation II building observed students’ questions from the other campuses until they were able to voice their own, a tally that amounted to five questions in the same number of minutes.
The forum was the second of four planned for the academic year that will see President Crow visit all four campuses to address student concerns about the university.
At last month’s session, which brought President Crow to the Downtown campus, a comparatively large number of Downtown students turned out to see Michael Crow and ask questions. A similar number of people turned out to join in the webcast for this month’s session, but faculty members were in the majority this time.
A few general questions about the nursing program, a new football stadium and ASU’s anti-discrimination policies were voiced, but without a large student body the questions appeared to be primarily the curiosities of a few individuals.
Beth Wischnia, the director of public relations for ASASUD, said student turnout could be improved but defended the current webcast conference format of the open forums.
“Obviously whichever campus President Crow is at will have a higher attendance, but I think the webcasts are the best way to do this,” she said. “There is only one President Crow and there isn’t really another way to do this. The webcasts are working well because they are easy to watch and students who aren’t able to attend can watch too.”
ASASUD Vice President Jessica Abercrombie expressed similar sentiments regarding the webcast format.
“The webcasts are fine and the live stream is a really good aspect of the open forums — I know there were a couple of students who couldn’t attend but watched it online,” she said. “In regard to those individuals in particular, it’s definitely worthwhile.”
The live stream does take care of the problem for those who want to observe and cannot attend, but it does not allow for the two-way communication the actual event offers. This can mean that many of the students who wish to voice their opinions are not giving themselves the chance to do so.
ASASUD Sen. Michelle Lauer, of the Walter Cronkite School, said she was unsure what was limiting student attendance.
“It’s unfortunate. I don’t know why attendance is so low. I think that the topic of discussion is highly relevant to student life,” she said. “I’m not sure why people aren’t showing up. It was advertised around campus. It’s just apathy I guess.”
Abercrombie said she was slightly disappointed by the lack of students at Tuesday’s open forum.
“Compared to last year, these open forums are definitely growing, but it surprises me that students who are very vocal about student government did not attend and take advantage of the chance to voice their opinions,” she said. “We try to advertise it, but some students just don’t have the interest. And for some reason there is disconnect between wanting to do it and actually doing it.”
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