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Michael Crow speaks on OpenAI, LGBTQ+ student space in Tempe forum

In the Tempe student forum, Crow covered issues in international employment, building spaces for student groups and OpenAI


ASU President Michael Crow during a student forum hosted by ASASU Council of Presidents in the Student Pavilion on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Tempe.

ASU President Michael Crow participated in a student forum for the last time this academic year, speaking on international student work, OpenAI and the reason why there is not a space for LGBTQ+ students at the University. 

The Tuesday forum was moderated by Morgann Kelly, USG-T president and a senior studying global studies, alongside Megan McCaughan, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association and a graduate student studying molecular and cellular biology.

A space for LGBTQ+ students

At the Student Pavilion, Crow said a space for students, like the LGBTQ+ safe space the Rainbow Coalition advocates for, is not a project the University would approve because it would separate communities.

"We would not build separate facilities for separate groups within the institution in the hope that we would not have separateness but that we would have cooperation, collaboration, recognition and respect among all the various groups of students," Crow said.

READ MORE: Rainbow Coalition's decade-long journey to build a space for LGBTQ+ students

Crow said although universities like UA and NAU have spaces for LGBTQ+ students, ASU acts independently, referencing the guaranteed four-year tuition program that the other two colleges adopted while ASU did not as an example.

"While the other universities did that, we chose not to do that, and we have the lowest tuition," Crow said. "There's all kinds of things that perhaps other universities are doing, but we don't find those things to be particularly successful, and, right now, we have a very mature, very successful student community at ASU."

One reason groups want a space for LGBTQ+ students is to ensure their safety against other student groups that could discriminate against them. Crow said he acknowledges the existence of those who can act against the rights of others, but ASU as a whole should serve as a safe space.

READ MORE: ASU needs to listen to its LGBTQ+ students, create safe space on campus

Crow later said students should still continue to communicate with the University about other options that could provide a safe environment for them.

"There seems to be a higher awareness of President Crow and all higher administrations pushing for students to raise their hand if they need something, regardless of their circumstances," Kelly said. "The University is here to help and support, and I think that students are starting to hear that message and are genuinely reaching out when they need something."

ASU President Michael Crow laughs with GPSA President Megan McCaughan and USG-T President Morgann Kelly during a student forum hosted by ASASU Council of Presidents in the Student Pavilion on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Tempe.

OpenAI collaboration

Crow acknowledged the recent OpenAI collaboration and the benefits ASU will get from the technology provided by the company. 

READ MORE: Charting ASU's future, navigating OpenAI's first partnership in higher education

"You're going to have an intelligent tutor and an intelligent assistant working with you in many courses going forward," Crow said. "We have about 100 of these projects underway. We have about 1,000 faculty members that are being trained in AI right now, so we're off to a pretty good start."

The University is launching "demonstration projects, new tools and specific classes, specific courses (and) specific fields" related to AI and the new OpenAI partnership, according to Crow. 

International student workers

Crow mentioned the University's efforts to expand optional practical training and welcome international students through on-campus employment. 

"That's a great way to attract really talented workers to the States, for either ultimately becoming permanent residents and then ultimately staying in the United States, or when they go back to their country, they go back with a broader, deeper experience in the United States," Crow said.

Vishvali Vivek Deo, a graduate student studying robotics and autonomous systems and an international students scholar, said obtaining an OPT can be stressful in today's work economy.

"Currently, there are a lot of limitations on how you can get an OPT," Deo said. "If you fail to secure a job within 60 days of graduation, you have to leave the country."

Crow said the University is "very supportive" of OPT policies and ASU will "continue to evolve and integrate people into the workforce for the economy to be successful."

Construction on campus

Crow said the Tempe construction happening on campus is in collaboration with the City of Tempe, which is building apartments, residence hall spaces and affordable housing.

"We're working with the City of Tempe on everything: on how the University community can be more successful, (how) the city can be more successful, how public safety can be enhanced, and how our students' safety can be enhanced," Crow said.

This is the last student forum organized by USG in the 2023-24 academic year, ending in the heart of ASU: the Tempe campus. 

McCaughan and Kelly advocated for future student forums, saying the events are a great way for students to interact with administration.

"I think it's one of the most important things that the University does because it shows not only are we an accessible University, but also that communication with University administration is very accessible," McCaughan said. "I think this is something that will always continue."

Edited by Grey Gartin, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.

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