University President Michael Crow said in a Staff Council Town Hall Tuesday that he is very aware of how some universities become dysfunctional.
“It’s kind of tiresome,” he said. “The way that I prefer to handle that mode of operation is the way we operate is that we try to be responsive to people’s concerns; we try to be responsive to council issues and find a way to bring about resolution.”
The session was held on the Tempe campus and live-streamed to all other locations, including Lake Havasu. Staff Council spokeswoman Carol Comito opened the meeting.
“We received questions via email and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions,” she said. “We allow all four campuses to ask questions, starting with Downtown.”
Crow said he wants people to feel free to advance their concerns to him.
“The best way to do that is a logical argument they can put together,” he said.
Crow said he wanted to reiterate that ASU is not a state agency but instead an academic enterprise operating under the Arizona Board of Regents with a public purpose and duty to the people.
“In that duty of the people it is incumbent upon us to attain our goals and objective,” he said.
Crow mapped out three objectives he wishes the University to accomplish. He wants ASU to produce world-class graduates, he wants to create an environment in which new ideas are produced and he wants to produce technologies and tools and innovations.
“I want to create stuff,” he said. “People, ideas and things.”
During the Q&A; session, Crow was asked about the future of staff infrastructure. He said there was a plan for growth.
“Staff will be grown in a number of areas in the fiscal year,” he said.
He was also asked about the plans for installing an air conditioning unit in the Central Plant on the Tempe campus. The building reaches extreme temperatures in the summer months while employees must work eight-hour shifts.
Crow did not have an immediate solution, as he was unaware of the problem.
“I’ll ask Dr. Morgan Olsen, our executive vice president and treasurer to get an answer to that question,” he said.
Crow was asked how the Affordable Health Care Act would affect student employment hours.
He let Olsen provide an answer to the question.
“There are thresholds, basically 30 hours a week and if an individual exceeds that threshold under the new law, the employer will be required to provide health care benefits,” he said. “The penalties of the employer not following this law are very severe.”
Olsen said individual student employees would be limited in total hours so they stay below that threshold.
In response to a question concerning plans to renew ASU efforts to curb tobacco use on campus, Crow said it was more of a behavioral thing than a criminal problem and the most effective way to enforce the rule was peer modification.
“We do our best to remind students that ASU is now tobacco-free,” he said. “Only once have I been told to do something to myself.”
In reference to the events that occurred with the controversial party that members of Tau Kappa Epsilon hosted, Crow was asked what his plans were to improve race relations at ASU.
He said that although racism is a problem that occurs on individual cases, he doesn’t see it as a large scale problem.
“I believe that the sanctions against students, the overall reaction and the editorial board of The State Press reflected the true attitude of ASU,” he said. “I am happy with the outcome that was achieved. “
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @kelciegrega