ASU President Michael Crow hosted a student forum broadcast out of the West campus Tuesday, allowing students from each campus the chance to discuss topics of concern such as campus security, transportation and tuition.
The broadcast was aired in the University Center on the Downtown campus, where students were able to participate in the forum.
Howard Waldie IV, a freshman political science student at the West campus, raised the issue of student security. Waldie said students were concerned with the amount of time they have to wait for safety escorts on each campus, with some students saying they have had to wait 30 minutes in the past for a safety escort.
Crow said ASU has a public safety department that monitors the number of officers at each campus as well as patrol shifts and grids to maximize campus safety. He said that the campus as a whole is looking into ways to improve waiting times for safety escorts because there should be no wait at all for use of the resource.
Another security issue that was raised was the effectiveness of the text message security alert system. Waldie said the alerts did not always work when an incident occurred on campus, even if students were signed up for the alerts.
Crow said the only reason why the alerts were not working for some students was because of the system reboot that occurred in January. However, he also said that education needs to happen for the alert to be effective.
“The reboot of the system in January caused a lot of students to have to sign up for the alerts again. However, only a minority of people use the system,” he said. “I think that what needs to happen to ensure safety is to promote more education on the resources we offer.”
Another topic of concern that was brought to the attention of the forum was that of transportation. Students of the Polytechnic campus said that because of their distance from the rest of the ASU campuses, they often have to utilize inter-campus transportation. However, they said that sometimes the bus schedules can be inconvenient.
Crow offered some new ways in which the campus may be able to overcome this problem via new technology.
“Transportation is an issue in which we respond based on any level of need. There are times when buses are full and other where they are completely empty, so we need to investigate this more and perhaps we can get multiple buses and offer more routes,” Crow said. “Also, maybe the university can start video-linked classes, which they can access while riding the bus.”
An issue that seemed to dominate the conversation toward the end of the forum was that of tuition and how in-state tuition for the next academic calendar was not raised, as out-of-state tuition was raised by three percent.
Crow said ASU was looking into more ways to cater to out-of-state students so that they can still come to the university at an affordable price.
“Within the next year, we are going to be offering more scholarships to students, especially to those from California. We are also fighting hard to lower interest rates on tuition and Pell grants. The main solution we have to just maintain and expand financial aid to out-of-state students,” Crow said.
Crow also said the financial-aid model of ASU for the next eight to 10 years would be that the tuition is raised modestly.
“ASU is looking to lower our cost per degree and we can only do this through efficiency in education and in the use of more technology,” he said.
After the forum broadcast ended in UCENT, students from the downtown area had the chance to reflect on what was discussed. Journalism freshman Jessica Boehm was excited she had the opportunity to talk with Crow.
“I think that it is really cool that you can ask a question to the president of our university because it just goes to show that by asking something and having a dialogue, he is now going to address the concerns of the students,” Boehm said.
Criminal justice and criminology junior Joey Amonett said the forum is unique to ASU.
“It is really special that Dr. Crow does this for the students because, as far as I know, we are the only university that has this dialogue with the president of the university and it is highly beneficial to the students because their voice is heard,” he said.
Contact the reporter at email@example.com
Editor’s note: Jessica Boehm is a contributing reporter to the Downtown Devil. She was not involved in reporting on the forum.