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Crow assures West campus of importance

Amid concerns from students and local leaders, President Michael Crow assured the West campus community that it would retain its identity.

Crow spoke at a conference at the campus on Wednesday night that was hosted by The Arizona Republic and WestMarc, a West Valley political and business advocacy group.

“We are trying to do the same thing in the West campus that we are doing through the entire University: excellence and academics. That’s what we are trying to do,” Crow said.

Speaking to a crowd of about 500 students and community members, Crow discussed the future plans for the West campus and dismissed the idea that he was forsaking the campus with cuts and academic reorganizations.

Sen. Linda Gray, R-Mesa, said Crow was turning back on his commitment of “One University in Many Places” by giving preferential treatment to the Tempe and Downtown campuses.

“We feel that there may be one university, but the ‘many places’ have been cut down,” Gray said.

Gray added the academic reorganization was in place long before the economic issues made it necessary. But she also said that Crow and legislators have to work together to save the campus’s programs and ensure future growth.

“This will all be sorted out with the budget and what we have to do in cuts,” Gray said. “Hopefully we will be able to maintain a number of programs here at ASU West, but we need to work with President Crow,” Gray said.

Crow eased some uncertainty by ensuring that West has always been an important aspect of the entire university system.

After the meeting in an interview, Crow said he didn’t mind being criticized and that he was willing to provide an answer for any uncertainties. He also reinforced the idea that West programs —undergraduate, graduate and research — would grow and expand in the coming years.

“We want [the campus] to grow to 15,000 students,” Crow said. “We want to have one of the largest, most significant arts and sciences colleges in the United States based right here.”

Arizona Republic general manager of community newspapers Michael Ryan mediated the interview and focused the discussion on student concerns.

After the meeting, students remained divided on the issue, but some said they saw that Crow was trying to pursue the best option for the University.

Global business leadership and management junior Tiffany Aja said she enjoys the small community environment of the West campus, and doesn’t want to have to move with her degree program.

“It’s a hard time, he has to make decisions so I’m not going to blame him completely,” she said. “I want to know what’s going to happen to my future.”

Criminal justice junior Brian Parisi added that Crow seemed to be looking at every option when making budget cuts.

“It seems like he’s making all the efforts he can with the limited resources we got,” he said.

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