Pizza with the Presidents addresses student concerns

Students had the opportunity to ask questions regarding their concerns and issues to Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley, Associated Students, Inc. President Pasindu Senaratne and faculty members through CPP’s social media accounts and in person during Pizza with the Presidents held on Feb. 11 in the Bronco Student Center, Ursa Major. Students also had the option to write their questions down on a piece of paper or wait to speak directly to the presidents and administrators publicly.

The event started with students sharing their concerns about the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus. Students noticed there is a very long wait to see a counselor about their concerns and wanted to know if new counselors were being added to tend to students in need. 

President Coley clarified that new counselors have been hired to the CAPS staff and she plans to keep hiring as the department is trying to reduce the off-balance ratio of counselors to students. CAPS has also created partnerships with Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and local clinics to help CPP students outside of school. 

A CAPS representative explained new developments are still in progress to improve the intake system of the counseling services, such as an open telephone number after business hours for students in need. 

Another question addressed last year’s information leak in the College of Science when a university employee accidentally released information containing advising information of 940 computer science students on Jan. 28, 2019. Students wanted to know now what is being done specifically to help the affected students whose information was compromised. 

“Mistakes are really, really hard to control,” said Vice President of Information Technology John McGuthry. “But we did step back. We looked over the processes around what happened and we made some changes. And hopefully, those changes prevent that from happening again.”

CPP President Soraya M. Coley and ASI President Pasindu Senaratne addressed all questions from students and social media inquiries.
(Joanne Guintu | The Poly Post)

However, students were not satisfied with the answer by McGurthy. They wanted a more direct and clear answer than the one given due to how much it affected their privacy. 

Vice President McGuthry acknowledged that he wants to listen to the affected students and ask for their help to find a solution. Those affected by the information leak last year in the College of Science are encouraged to visit the office of Information Technology & Institutional Planning in Building 1, suite 100. 

Racism on campus was another topic brought up during Pizza with the Presidents. 

Jayla Littlejohn, a second-year psychology student, reminded the audience of last semester’s acts of racism and wanted to know the consequences of such harmful acts. 

Coley answered with hopes for the future generations and change within our community at CPP. “We have to work together in order to create and make people uncomfortable in saying and doing things that are hurtful and harmful,” she said. “What I want to be able to do is to make sure that future generations don’t have to relive … those experiences.” 

As both CPP President Soraya M. Coley and ASI President Pasindu Senaratne answered questions, free pizza was offered to all attendees.
(Joanne Guintu | The Poly Post)

Coley did not mention any definite consequences for harmful acts of racism. 

Students also shared their continuing concern over parking on campus and whether the price of parking permits will reduce. CPP Chief of Police Dario Robinson answered these concerns. 

Chief Robinson explained the loans CPP needs to repay for the construction of both parking structures on campus. With the consistency of the parking permit price, CPP is on track to pay off the debt within the next decade. 

Chief Robinson then introduced Executive Director of Transportation and Planning Danny Wu to the crowd as a new member of CPP’s faculty. Wu’s new position entails planning new ways students can commute to CPP and the importance in reducing overflowing parking lots. 

After the event, many questions were left unaddressed. According to Coley, those questions would be followed up on the following day through private emails to the concerned individuals.

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