By Klarize Medenilla
Students and faculty members enjoyed free pizza and campus community engagement at Cal Poly Pomona’s Pizza with the Presidents on Thursday.
The quarterly event was held at 6 p.m. at the Bronco Student Center’s Ursa Major, where President Soraya Coley and Associated Students, Inc. President Julian Herrera took to the floor to answer students’ questions. Other university faculty members were also present to answer questions.
The event addressed a variety of issues, the most popular being the upcoming semester conversion.
“We are committed to working with all of the entities on campus to make sure it doesn’t hamper students from transitioning to the semester system,” said Coley.
A primary motivation for the recent reforms to the summer term was to incentivize students to use the summer to further academic progress so they can graduate before the conversion, said Coley.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sylvia Alva assured that the faculty is working “diligently” to make the transition as smooth as possible for students.
“We don’t want you to worry about semester conversion,” Alva told the students in the crowd. “There are people working behind the scenes to ensure that everything translates smoothly so that when you review your academic transcript, you will understand how that translates, and you can see that you will receive full credit.”
Sepehr Eskandari, chair of the academic senate and a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, answered a question that addressed raising the unit cap per quarter. As of now, the maximum amount of units a student can register for per quarter is 17, with a special petition required to exceed that up to 20 units.
Eskandari said that there is a referral that is currently being reviewed by the senate that is proposing to raise the unit cap from 17 units to 20 units, with a petition required to register for anything beyond 20 units.
“The goal is to [bring the unit cap] to what it used to be to allow you to enroll in more classes and hopefully complete your education before semester conversion,” said Eskandari.
When asked her opinion, Coley said that she is in favor of semester conversion because it would allow more engagement between students and faculty.
She also said that the many students who transition to CPP from high school and community colleges ” most of which adhere to the semester system ” would greatly benefit from a semester environment, as it would make their transition easier.
“I’ve only taught in semester environments, and I really felt that the nature of my teaching was such that I was able to [complete] initiatives, tasks and activities that I might not have been able to complete within a quarter system,” said Coley.
Regarding the California Faculty Association strike, Coley assured that the university’s main concerns are the students and minimizing the impact this strike may have on student success.
“We have a commitment across the CSU that this strike should not delay graduation or completion of courses,” said Coley. “You’ll be getting up-to-date information the closer we get [to the strike date]. We are preparing communication to students to let them know exactly what they should do and how they should proceed, but the faculty are remaining ever committed to the academic success of our students.”
Other issues that were discussed were food insecurity, extended resources for undocumented students, CPP’s Master Plan, the possibility of establishing a new violence prevention center and the usual parking and transportation concerns.
Pizza with the Presidents is a chance for students and faculty to engage with university leaders, but some attendees felt that there was not enough discussion on more crucial campus issues.
Kayla Barbosa, a fourth-year hospitality student, felt that some of the questions were “irrelevant,” such as an early question that asked about CPP’s greatest assets.
“I felt like the questions that were asked did not necessarily pertain to the issues that people wanted to know about,” said Barbosa. “There were questions that people asked that did not get answered because we ran out of time because time was spent [answering] useless questions.”
Barbosa wished that the campus leaders addressed the Bronco Express shuttles that go up to Collins College. She feels that there are not enough shuttles accommodating the students that have classes there.
“There’s only one route that goes up there, so it takes a long time. And people can’t actually park up there, so your options are to walk or wait for a shuttle and potentially be late,” said Barbosa.
Hannah Brunelle, a first-year regenerative studies graduate student, appreciated that the university’s Master Plan was addressed but felt that the necessary “concrete steps” of the plan were not fully addressed.
“I think that something on our campus that has a very urgent need is sustainability and how our campus is dealing with action plans of that nature,” said Brunelle. “Usually there are more questions posed on that by students, and I think we only had one indirect question about it, but I think it should have been addressed more fully.”
Given the armed suspect situation was transpiring at the University Village at the time of the event, it was unsure whether the event would take place, but Coley said that the University Police assured that CPP should not “hold out on this event.”
She wanted to make sure the event was still happening because she “did not want to disappoint the students” by having them wait another quarter for the next Pizza with the Presidents.
“I always look forward to this because it gives me a sense of what’s on people’s minds, and I want to make sure if there’s issues that we haven’t thought of, that it alerts us [and tells us] that we need to do something about it,” Coley said after the event. “Plus I get to see students in different settings, and that’s always a desire of mine.”
Victoria Kernen / The Poly Post
Pizza with the president
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