By Gabrielle Peearanda
Cal Poly Pomona’s quarterly Pizza with the Presidents forum drew its usual throng of free pizza-seeking students.
University President Soraya Coley shared the floor with ASI President Julian Herrera to address students’ questions on Nov. 10. Other university administrators were in attendance to provide additional information.
Before accepting any questions, Coley congratulated the CPP men’s soccer team for its win at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament. She also welcomed several new administrators.
The parking situation on campus prompted many questions as it has for the last few Pizza with the Presidents forums.
“It would not be Pizza with the Presidents without questions about parking,” said Coley.
Director of Parking and Transportation Services Michael Biagi answered questions about citation fees and parking lot cameras.
“We have to mirror the fees that our local agency charges, so what you are paying for [in] citation fees ” will be the same someone in the city of Pomona will pay for a violation of the same nature,” said Biagi.
Regarding crime in campus parking lots and the needs for cameras, Biagi says the “technology is expensive” but that the new parking structure will have 73 cameras installed.
Agricultural land was the second most asked about subject after parking and transportation issues.
Coley was asked if she could promise that no building other than the Air Resource Board facility will be built on Spadra Farm. She explained that accommodating the ARB includes allocating land to other states agencies, which is part of the agreement by which the 300-acre Lanterman property was transferred to CPP.
“Spadra Farm will always be a part of Cal Poly Pomona,” said Coley. “What I have asked and said that we will do is a moratorium on ” [the] Spadra development until we complete the academic master plan and we have a clear understanding of how we will use the land for the academic mission and student success.”
CPP’s Facebook page received identical questions from six different users, and all asked when the university will open a center for undocumented students.
“The Division of Students Affairs is looking at that. I don’t yet have a timeline, but we are definitely taking this up and want to be responsive,” said Coley, who then posed the question to Kathleen Street, acting vice president of Student Affairs.
“We’ve recognized that this is an issue. We have about 550 plus students who are undocumented on campus, and there are certainly some very unique needs that need to be met,” said Street.
She added that she recently met with staff and student advocates for the center and plans to share what she learned from their discussion in her next meeting with Coley.
Although the Pizza with the Presidents event is traditionally a demonstration of the administration’s openness with the university community, some attendees felt that the university officials were not more straightforward with their answers. The presidents answered more than 20 questions during the forum, but some students, like Bernadette Bolaeos and Laura Hasbun, found the quality of the responses were ambiguous.
Bolaeos, a fourth-year gender, ethnicity and multicultural studies student, is concerned with bike and pedestrian safety on campus. One of the questions she submitted that was addressed during the forum was regarding the installment of crosswalks on several CPP roads.
Ben Quillian, acting vice president and chief financial officer for Administrative Affairs, answered her question.
“As far as Eucalyptus Lane goes, we are in the process of planning a sidewalk there,” said Quillian.
Hasbun, also a fourth-year gender, ethnicity and multicultural studies student, and Bolaeos are members of the organization Students for Quality Education. SQE has been working to solidify a partnership between CPP and Foothill Transit that would entail subsidized bus passes for students.
Bolaeos said a partnership with Foothill Transit is an issue SQE wants administrators to address, but it was “not necessarily answered” during the forum.
Bolaeos is frustrated with the administration and wants more transparency between CPP officials and students.
“Where are these conversations happening and how can we sit in on these meetings and how can we make sure that we also have a say?'” said Bolaeos.
Juan Cedillo, a fifth year psychology transfer student, shared a similar opinion of the academic year’s first Pizza with the Presidents.
“I don’t think they gave any real answers. It’s just a nice collection of buzzwords ” ‘we’re looking at it,’ ‘we’re trying,'” said Cedillo.
Cedillo also wanted to know what happens to the questions that do not get answered during the event. His inquiry ” what the university plans to do regarding the possible California Faculty Association strike ” was not addressed.
According to Emily Velasco, communication specialist for Public Affairs, more questions than previous events were submitted and about one third were answered. However, many of the questions focused on similar topics, like parking and agricultural land.
“We are looking over the remaining questions to figure how to address them and in want form we can make the questions and answers available,” said Velasco. “We’ll be looking at how we can make the process move more quickly, so we can get through a larger number of questions.”
Reynaldo Duenas / The Poly Post
Pizza with the presidents
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