ASU President Michael Crow joined students and faculty on the Downtown Phoenix campus on Jan. 16 to discuss and address student-submitted questions and concerns on various university-related issues.
The forum was moderated by Harrison Sears, the president of USG Downtown and a senior studying political science and philosophy, and Megan McCaughan, the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association and a graduate student studying molecular and cellular biology.
A question during the Q&A portion of the forum asked about Rep. Rashida Tlaib's, D-MI, canceled campus visit and speech back in November. The student, whose name was not given, asked Crow why the event was canceled when other student organizations like College Republicans at Arizona State University and Turning Point USA have controversial speakers regularly on campus.
"We are an institution which is a bastion of free speech," Crow said. "We will protect it, and we will defend it. And remember, we are not a park; we are a university, and we are always related to a group of students that are related to some academic purpose of the institution."
Crow said that there are proper procedures that any on-campus organization needs to go through to ensure safety when hosting an event.
When the forum began, Crow gave University updates that he considered important for students to know, including that the University is financially sound after financial problems continued to face UA.
"Some of the other universities in the system are in financial redesign efforts, but our model is effective," Crow said.
Crow addressed campus growth, including ASU's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, which he said has been asked to triple the number of nurses produced, meaning expansion of enrollment at the bachelor's, master's of Nursing Science and doctor's of Nurse Practice levels.
"Nurses are the most frontline of all health, caregivers, and health workers in our society and we’re looking to produce more of them," Crow said.
Included in the campus growth is the expansion of the West Valley Campus, which will have three new schools, a residence hall, and new amenities to address student demand concerns. The new schools will be for the engineering college, the business college and a new expanded transdisciplinary forensics school.
ASU has decided to expand upon opportunities for upperclassmen and undergraduate housing, eventually looking to expand housing for staff. Crow referenced the University's 7,000 apartments for doctoral students and faculty members.
"We are not there yet, but we know we need to move in that direction," Crow said.
Crow also said during the forum that he hoped that regardless of the complex tragedies going on in the world, students could still take full advantage of what ASU has to offer.
"I hope is that for this semester, everyone will sit will stay focused on why you're here," Crow said. "You are here to advance your life through learning; you’re here as students to advance your opportunities to be service going forward in our country and around the world."
Edited by Alysa Horton, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.