More than 100 students gathered in the North Gym auditorium Monday to voice suggestions and concerns on campus safety and student resources at a forum hosted by Fresno State President Joseph Castro.
“Every voice matters, and every one of you matters,” Castro told Monday’s crowd.
Courina Hughes, a fourth-year criminology student, was the first of many students to give the university president input. She thanked Castro for hosting the forum — the first of many to come, Castro said, before telling him many sidewalks and streets on campus, particularly the ones near the Kremen Education Building, were in need of repairs.
The issue hit home for Hughes, who said she tore ligaments in her right ankle catching her foot in a cracked area of sidewalk the first month of her freshman year in 2011. Castro told Hughes those sorts of campus repairs, part of the university’s greater effort to repair its antiquated infrastructure, were high on the university’s to-do list.
“This is an issue that’s the very highest level in terms of priority. That’s our infrastructure to support all of you,” Castro said.
Many students brought up issues such as priority registration, extending library and department hours, having more access to science and engineering labs, department funding and other student resources.
Castro said some of the more readily achievable solutions — some of which are already underway — included improved lighting on campus, more technology aid and hiring more certified instructors.
But he also said some solutions related to funding would be long-term, asking students to be patient.
“The most important thing for me was to hear where the challenges are, and for the whole cabinet, many of whom are new to the positions that they hold, to hear that with me so we can fix any problems that exist,” Castro said. “In some of these cases, we can fix them right away, and other cases, it’ll take some time.”
Students at the forum said they appreciated Castro taking the time to listen to them.
“I’ve seen such great change since he’s started,” said Nimat Davis, an educational leadership and administration student. “I’m really impressed by that, and I’m happy he’s taking note that things need to be fixed around here.”
Since becoming university president in August 2013, Castro has implemented other avenues for campus community input. The university established a “feedback” page on its website, where people can voice questions or concerns. The page is updated each semester with responses.