President Susan Martin held an informal question and answer session Thursday in the food court area of the Student Center.
The event was part of a series Martin has planned for the campus, which will focus on informal discussion between herself and students.
In her opening remarks, Martin explained the major projects on campus, one of involved improvements in security.
“We have added a crime response unit of officers,” she said. “We have also gotten four new dispatchers and hired more effective officers.”
Martin also spoke on the development of construction and renovation on campus. She discussed smaller projects like renovations of Hill and Pittman Residence Halls, upgrading heaters in Wise Hall and installing new windows in Brown-Munson apartments.
She talked about major undertakings such as the new science complex that will add about 75,000 square feet of new space in addition to the present science complex, Mark Jefferson.
“This project is one of, if not the biggest project, we have ever inducted,” Martin said. “But to help students who might be fazed by this new development in terms of where their new classes will be situated; now they will be moving the faculty staff and classes to the swing space.”
“We have developed a way by which students can go online and click on the class they have and automatically it pulls up, the name of the professor, his or her new office and the new location where the classes will be taken, making it comfortable for students.”
Martin also talked about the renovations on EMU’s busiest classroom building.
“The Pray Harrold project entails moving staff and faculty out of the building for at least sixteen months, a decision that will save $3 million when accomplished,” Martin said.
President Martin said the swing space project is moving smoothly.
“The swing space project is going well,” she said. “By May 7, Pray Harrold staff will be moved. By completing this huge project is sixteen months EMU, will be saving about 4 million we can use for other innovations on campus to assist students.”
When asked how the professors felt when they were told they will be moved Martin said they welcome the move.
“They are very excited about this, about change,” she said.
A question brought up was the issue of retention rates and how EMU can invest more in student affairs.
“This is a big issue and a major priority for me and the Board of Regents and an assortment of initiatives are being looked at,” she said. “The rate has increase from the past year by one percent. This might not look like a lot, but it is. We also know we need to improve our academic advising, which we have already looked into and will be implementing new strategies.”
Another question addressed was the issue of a potential bill that would allow students to have weapons on campus.
“The bill is not moving right now, but perhaps if it does students will be in the best position to prohibit it by organizing a march on Lansing— expressing how they feel about it, but like I said it is not passed right now.”
Martin also talked about the Ann Arbor fire that claimed the life of an EMU student April 3. Martin expressed her condolences to the family of Renden LeMasters.
“This is very tragic, not just for me but for EMU as a whole,” she said. “Right now, it is being investigated.”