ASU President Michael Crow shared details about how the University plans to provide more student housing and combat food insecurity, provided updates on the transition between football head coaches, and discussed the University's expansion into cities outside of Arizona in a meeting with The State Press Thursday.
One of the University's newest spaces is the California Center, based in the historic Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. The University announced its move into the building in 2018 but opened the space in Fall 2021.
Crow said there is a belief that the California Center is a campus, which he said is not true: ASU is "a University also present in California," he said. The center will seek to offer unique academic and professional opportunities rather than compete with California's public universities.
"We're not going to be attempting to take enrollment from the California campuses," Crow said. "Whatever we do there will be unique."
Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles are two cities where ASU is prioritizing its presence, Crow said. The Washington Center in Washington, D.C. opened in 2018 and houses programs for journalism, law, politics and more.
Crow wants more state funding for Arizona students
Arizona has seen the greatest defunding of higher education of any state since the Great Recession, with an over 50% drop from 2008 to 2019. In 2020, Arizona had the lowest state support for higher education of any state in the nation, at $2,515 per full-time equivalent student.
Crow said the University needs greater financial support from the state of Arizona for in-state students to attend ASU. He said the University is looking for a solution to the lack of state funding but hasn't been able to find one yet.
READ MORE: The New American president: Crow's relationship with Arizona politicians
"All that support that we give, which is usually given by states in other states, is resources we're not spending on the University itself. We're spending it on the students so that they can attend the University," Crow said. "And that's an extremely challenging environment for us to be in and we haven't been able to resolve that."
ASU plans to build more student housing
In August, around 450 ASU students were living in hotels due to insufficient student housing capacity, according to a report from ABC 15. Senior Vice President of Educational Outreach and Student Services James Rund said there are still "a couple hundred" students in hotels.
Crow said he has not heard of any extraordinary issues with the students living in hotels, other than that "they keep ordering room service." University housing has assigned some community assistants to live in hotels with residents.
"We rent the hotel and it's run like a residence (hall), so it's just a different building," Crow said. "Now, it's not ideal, but it's still what parents want and what students want."
To address the issue of student housing capacity, Crow said ASU is in "growth mode." The University is building a residence hall on the West campus and has plans to build more residence halls on the Tempe campus.
READ MORE: Learn more about ASU's development
In addition to student housing, Crow said the University is also looking into expanding affordable housing for its staff and graduate students.
"Some people might be upset that we do that because they think that we're entering the market, so to speak," Crow said. "We're not trying to affect the market. We're trying to keep our staff."
ASU has plan to combat food insecurity. It isn't a food pantry
While Crow said the University isn't opposed to opening a permanent, University-supported food pantry, similar to the student-led Pitchfork Pantry, he said it already has a protocol in place for students who are struggling with food insecurity.
The University offers students who have a demonstrated need of assistance in accessing food either a scholarship model that covers the cost of a meal plan or a job that includes the cost of food "as a function of (their) job."
Arizona PBS did nothing wrong with the governor debates
The decision by Arizona PBS to host a Q&A session with Democratic governor candidate Katie Hobbs, after she declined a debate against Republican opponent Kari Lake, was justified, Crow said.
READ MORE: ASU President Michael Crow defends Arizona PBS's decision to host Katie Hobbs interview
According to Crow, the University lived up to the three duties that come with operating a public television station: being fair and balanced, honoring existing contracts and working for the public.
Crow said the Arizona Clean Elections Commission did not fulfill its end of a contract with the station when it was unable to secure both candidates for a debate and instead scheduled a Q&A with Lake.
"If we end up in a situation where one person is showing up for a failed debate model, the only way we can be fair and balanced is to allow the other person an opportunity to speak also," Crow said.
Athletics focusing on Aguano before searching for new coach
Crow said the University is not searching for a new football head coach yet, rather, it is focusing on supporting interim head coach Shaun Aguano for the remainder of this season.
READ MORE: Herm Edwards out as football head coach
"If (Aguano) wants to take a crack at the job, then you don't start hunting for the new coach now, you hunt for the new coach … at the end of the season," Crow said.
Crow also outlined a deal former head coach Herm Edwards struck with the University saying Edwards would take a 50% buyout — about $4.4 million paid over the next three years.
READ MORE: Herm Edwards to take 50% buyout of remaining salary, plus benefits and academic bonus
ASU hopes to find resolution between Mirabella, Shady Park
Crow said the University supports resolving the spat between longtime downtown Tempe music venue Shady Park, and Mirabella at ASU, a retirement community located in downtown Tempe, outside of the courtroom.
"Courts are good to solve things when you can't find a resolution. I'd rather find one before that," he said.
READ MORE: Judge sides with Mirabella and restricts Shady Park's concert noise, hours
Students seeking abortions will be 'supported'
Amid federal and state-level changes to abortion legislation, Crow said any ASU student who wants an abortion will be "supported," but the University will also follow state law.
READ MORE: This is what we know about where abortion rights currently stand in Arizona
While ASU Health Services does not offer abortions, nurses and other providers with Health Services will be able to give medical advice.
"There is no law that says that you don't give people advice," Crow said. "There is no law that says you don't help people to make decisions … at least not in Arizona."
Editors Greta Forslund, Piper Hansen, Wyatt Myskow, Sophia Balasubramanian and Jasmine Kabiri contributed to the reporting of this article.
Edited by Wyatt Myskow, David Rodish and Piper Hansen.
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Camila Pedrosa is a managing editor for The State Press Magazine. This is her third semester working with the magazine, and she has previously written for Cronkite News and The Copper Courier.