Pizza with the President: ‘Questions, comments or screams’

4/9/2008 - By: John Trent

President Milt Glick doesn’t mind giving people answers – it’s part of his job – but perhaps it is the old chemistry professor in him that also enjoys asking people questions from time to time.

Both sides of Glick were evident Tuesday during the “Pizza with the President” event in the Graduate Student Association lounge of the Joe Crowley Student Union. About 35 students, faculty and staff attended.

After fielding a question from Aimee Abittan, a freshman from Reno, regarding the recent decision by the Nevada System of Higher Education to raise tuition, Glick returned to his questioner about 20 minutes later.

“Tell me,” Glick asked, looking about the GSA lounge, which from the third floor of the Crowley Union features an excellent view of the Carson Range, nearby Peavine Mountain as well as the hillside neighborhood nestled across the street from the University near 15th Street, “we’re coming up to an end of a semester, and I’d be interested to see if the opening of this facility has helped us in the process of transforming our campus.”

Abittan didn’t hesitate.

“It’s pretty fabulous,” she said. “It gives us a chance to sit down and hang out. I live off campus, and this allows me to stay on campus for a few extra hours without feeling that I’m loitering outside of someone’s classroom.”

Glick smiled broadly.

The moment – an exchange between a recent high school graduate still somewhat new to academia and a veteran administrator who jokingly likes to tell people that he went to college and more than 50 years later, “never left” – seemed to be in the spirit of the new union and the transformational possibilities Glick and other administrators have envisioned for it.

“With the Knowledge Center, these two beautiful buildings will be as good as any in the country for student interaction,” Glick said.

Earlier, Abittan had asked Glick if there is anything “we can do as students to stem the increase.”
In his reply, Glick noted that as the State of Nevada faces a budget deficit of nearly $900 million, “Short-term, I don’t think there is a lot you can do. Long-term, we have a legislative session that will begin in January, and there is a lot you can do.”

Glick said the University’s students are uniquely qualified to speak up on such issues, due to the leadership role their elected leaders have taken during the budget crisis.

“I brag about our students all the time,” he said. “We have a campus where it was our students who were part of the (budget reduction) discussion, and, perhaps just as importantly, who stepped up and helped our campus find solutions.”

Other topics covered during the discussion included:

On the University’s plans for the Women’s Resource Center, Glick said that, “It is our intention, when Getchell Library is rehabbed and ready to be used again (following the move of library personnel to the Knowledge Center), we have set aside space for such a resource center. I personally think there is value to have such a center. The time to have a conversation on how best to use it is now.”

Asked about when the University will be implementing a “blue phone” series of emergency phone towers on campus, Glick turned the discussion to the University’s police chief, Adam Garcia, who was in the audience Tuesday. Garcia said that plans are in the works for 25 such phones. Mike Bennett with Facilities Services, also in the audience, said the first three will be “up and running” by the end of next week.

On the University’s recent decision to continue to allow beer sales at Mackay Stadium, Glick said the measure will only work if the Pack’s fans adhere to new fan-friendly measures that will be taken this season: “We’re going to need your help. We’re going expect resolution so we don’t have to ban (beer) in the future. But we are going to need the help of our students. Students are so important. They can set the tone at all events.”

On his plans for the future, Glick re-emphasized his hope that the Crowley Union, Knowledge Center and other student-oriented efforts would help make a “stickier campus.” He said the new “front door” to campus off Virginia Street could still use even more magnet facilities, to entice students to spend more time on campus and to invite the community for visits.

“I hope that you’re feeling it’s not just the union,” Glick said. “We are really committed to making a stickier campus. I would very much like to put an indoor-outdoor amphitheater here. I’m told, though, that the people across the street may not like it. But those are the types of things we need to look at if we want this place to stick.”


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