Ernest Hereford, flood issues and pedestrian problems were all addressed at an open forum that was held with President Vistasp Karbhari at Pizza with the President.
Students packed into the Palo Duro Lounge for the open forum Wednesday afternoon.
Hereford was a topic that quickly surfaced as Mark Napieralski, drawing senior and Progressive Student Union president, took the microphone. It has been claimed that former president Hereford created an atmosphere of intolerance on campus.
Karbhari said he currently has a committee looking into the issue in order to determine whether Hereford still deserves a presence on campus, with the University Center which bears his name and the bronze bust that sits in it.
Microbiology senior Susana Pimentel was the first to ask her question to Karbhari.
She commutes from Johnson County and uses remote parking to lower her expenses. She is concerned for her safety as she walks from remote parking and crosses streets to reach campus.
Karbhari said pedestrian safety is in the forefront of the university’s priorities as it works with the state to lower the speed limit on Cooper Street from 35 mph to 30 mph and increase safety precautions.
Business freshman Alyssa Bonillion was concerned about the recent flooding problem that the university experienced this week.
She commutes to school and was turning into parking lot 50 when a police officer stopped her and directed her to Spaniolo Drive. Water rushed her car, pushing her vehicle into oncoming traffic, she said.
Bonillion’s concerns follows the possible drowning of mathematics doctoral student Alan Amaya, 23, on Sept. 22, who was swept away by storm water.
Karbhari said the university is working with the city on the flooding problem that has been unusual recently.
“A lot of the water comes from different areas, water from UTA goes outside and starts collecting somewhere else, water from somewhere else comes in over here,” he said.
Karbhari said administrators and the city are trying to find out how to know where it will flood ahead of time. University officials have been cleaning out drains around campus and addressing where the creeks are in order to come closer to solving the flooding issue.
After questions, Karbhari set aside 20 minutes of the open forum to discuss hazing with the audience. He asked the students how often it happens at UTA and what the school can do to help stop it. He told students to reach out to him or Student Government about the issue.
“The change in culture has to come from within the student body, what can we do as a university to help that happen?” asked Karbhari.