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Monday, February 28, 2011

Pizza with President Dr. Mitchel Wallerstein

Emails were sent to invite students to come and speak with President Wallerstein. On Thursday February 24, 2011 during club hours, about sixteen students showed up to have an informal chat with the president.  At first the president asked that we all introduce ourselves and then he introduced himself. He mentioned that CUNY was facing 10% budget cuts. He is hoping to reduce costs so that it would not affect Baruch’s education and faculty. Unfortunately, tuition would have to be increased, but will be increased in increments so that student who are participating in TAP will be covered. Tuition may go up in the near future to compensate for cuts.

Despite this depressing news, there are some exciting changes happening at Baruch.
1) The escalators will be fixed soon! Right now, the contractors are working on the escalators in the basement replacing them with brand new ones. They will make their way up and soon all the escalators in the vertical campus will be working.
2) Renovations will begin shortly to 17 Lex (23rd building). It will be done in phases so that the whole entire building will be redecorated without disturbing classes.
3) Right now, Baruch students are sharing a residence hall with SVA. President Wallerstein is hoping to that Baruch will have a residential hall in the near future so students who commute from a far are able to stay near the school.
4) Remember last semester when USG sent around a proposal for a student center? Students voted to pay extra so that we can have this center which would be used as club rooms or lounging. President Dr. Mitchel Wallerstein is hoping to raise three times the amount so in three to five years, there could be a student center.
5) The President has a dream that the 25th street, between the library building and vertical campus could be shut down and turned into a plaza so students and faculty have an outdoor area to relax and enjoy the weather.

After an update of the school’s progress report, President Wallerstein opened the floor for questions and concerns. One of the major concerns was the condition of the bathrooms. The bathrooms have been filthy and sometimes students are unsure whether or not it is being cleaned often. A second one was not enough lockers around the school. Some students are finding it difficult to carry books around all day and would like a place to leave their things. Two students raised the question of classroom space. One commented that even though in the schedule of classes, the section claims that only certain amount of seats are available; in the actual classroom students are unable to find seats at all. This causes many to rush to class early so that they can get a decent seat. Branching off of this idea, the other student asked if more sections could be added, especially the business classes, because the spaces get filled very fast that students who register later are unable to get the classes.  
The President promised to look into these issues.  
President Dr. Mitchel Wallerstein asked if Baruch should offer a hybrid of online classes with classroom lectures. There was a quite a divide on this issue. Some students felt that it was good for students who work full time, have to travel from afar or have to take care of families. Other students were not in favor because they felt that there would be no student-teacher interaction and it would be hard to contact the professor if there is a question.

Personally, I think this is a rare treat that students should take advantage of. The President, who has a hectic schedule, is actually making time for us, students, to hear our concerns in hopes of improving the college so students can have a worthwhile experience while studying.  

-Arunna Raj

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