President Vistasp Karbhari addressed the campus community and answered students’ questions and concerns during the first Pizza with the President of the semester in the University Center Palo Duro Lounge on Wednesday.
“If we are truly going to be a university that is made up of students, we need to be able to listen to students, we need to be able to get ideas from students, and we need to be able to work with students,” Karbhari said.
Karbhari addressed the audience and asked about their thoughts on how the university can improve on the registration process.
Mariah White, critical languages and international studies-Korean senior, asked Karbhari if the university plans to update the online degree map that is available for students. She said the map is not current and doesn’t show the classes within her major accurately.
White said the degree map had determined she would graduate this semester. However, she realized at the start of the semester that it was not accurate, and now she will graduate in the spring.
“It was just kind of disappointing to think something for so long and then it just not be true; something as big as graduation,” she said.
White said it was difficult to let go of the idea of graduating this semester, but she now realizes it just wasn’t meant to be. Regardless, she left her contact information with Karbhari so that he could look into it.
Karbhari said the university is looking into updating all the degree maps and making sure they are current.
Physics senior Julian Beatty said he comes to Pizza with the President to see where the administration stands on university issues.
Beatty said the concern he raised to Karbhari is that the university compromises its ability to grant degrees to students by charging high prices on parking and housing on campus.
He said he values the financial security of current students and having affordable parking and housing, however, students also pay for other services such as intercollegiate athletics and recreational programs.
“We should re-look at our priorities,” Beatty said. “Instead of spending that money on athletics, we should use that to pay down our debt service and to basically subsidize our housing and parking.”
Karbhari said the university keeps students in mind when deciding on rates, and the goal is to provide students with the services they need.
He said the student parking rates remained constant this year, while faculty and staff rates increased. Regarding housing, Karbhari said having both on- and off-campus options allow students to compare rates and decide for themselves.
Student body President Gavin Mitchell said the next Pizza with the President will take place in November.
“I would like to see people prepare questions ahead of time. Not that the questions were bad, but we want to encourage more dialogue and discussion between administration,” Mitchell said.