LCSN: Finalist Michael Ortiz hears parking concerns at student forum

November 10, 2009. Retrieved online November 10, 2009 from Amanda L. Husson, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – Presidential search finalist Michael Ortiz, the fourth of five candidates to visit campus, answered some of the more pressing questions on the minds of New Mexico State University students Monday — topics like improving the graduation rate among Hispanics, transparency in the administration and, of course, parking.

Ortiz explained how California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, addressed the problem of congested parking on campus — a situation that many NMSU students also find problematic — by creating special parking areas for students who ride-pool, changing the campus bus route to better accommodate students who need to reach the center of campus and building a parking structure.

Students attending the forum at Corbett Center nodded in approval as they learned of the changes, but Ortiz cautioned that the improvements have a downside.

“Students pay $90 per semester to park,” he said.

Asked about how he might address what some view as a problem with transparency at NMSU, Ortiz said he makes himself available to answer questions and get a sense of what’s on students’ minds.

“Transparency is all about communication,” he said. To that end, CSPU Pomona implemented “Pizza with the President” lunches that draw hundreds of students with questions, grievances and ideas. Budget cuts have downgraded the events to “Brown-bag with the President,” but Ortiz said the some of the feedback from students has resulted in ideas the university has been able to use.

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