UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla visited Muir College on April 27 for a brief presentation, as well as a question and answer session, hosted by Muir College Council.
According to former Muir College Council (MCC) President Moiz Ansari, who planned the event, this is Khosla’s first visit to any of the colleges. “Part of what I wanted to do with this event was set a tradition and create a precedent for the Chancellor–and other administration–to start coming to the colleges more and interacting with the students they serve,” said Ansari. “I was pretty disappointed to learn that something like this has never happened before so I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to create this event.”
Upon walking into the room, Khosla asked The Guardian media representatives (who had live streaming equipment set up) if they needed to record the meeting. “It just becomes problematic when people record,” he said.
Khosla used the meeting to discuss the university’s history of and plans for improving graduation rates, housing, and research opportunities during his time at UCSD. He stated that the administration was making moves to reduce unit requirements and increase academic advising resources to improve graduation rates.
In addition, Khosla described his intention to extend CAPS hours and add counselors to the facility. He also plans to add 10,000 new beds in the next five years and guarantee four-year housing for undergraduate and Ph.D students.
In his question and answer session, the chancellor stated that the move to Division-1 would cost $400 dollars per year. If the move to Division-1 takes place, “I can tell you we will not have football,” he said. “We are not taking tuition dollars and putting it to D-1. I’m supportive of D-1, but only if it’s not going to affect tuition.”
In light of the recent chalking incident, Khosla also addressed free speech on campus: “Anything that creates a threatening environment is unacceptable. We all have to walk a very fine line where we don’t curb someone’s first amendment rights. Take The Koala, as an administration, we made a very strong statement. In a college education, in this time … there’s a lot of uncertainty. There has to be a level of challenge or argument, but not so much it can be stymied.”
However, some were dissatisfied with the chancellor’s lack of knowledge about particular issues and resources, such his statement that the Triton Food Pantry was based on Dining Dollars donated by students.
“I think it was made pretty clear that the chancellor–and perhaps other [members of the administration]–is not in touch with our university and our students’ needs,” said Ansari. “When discussing the food pantry, it seemed more of something to put on his list of accomplishments than anything else. He didn’t seem to know much about what the food pantry was for and started talking about ‘triton cards’ and how people don’t budget their money on them properly.”
Ansari emphasized the importance of holding the administration accountable. “Ask those questions and make sure that the administrators know what students want,” he said. “It’s a two-way street; administrators need to listen to students more but students also need to be more proactive in making sure their needs are met.”
According to Ansari, MCC hopes to continue these events and looks to bringing in more administration members for longer sessions in the future.
May 4, 9:33 AM: As a point of clarification, this was the Chancellor’s first visit to undergraduates within the colleges. He has visited for functions involving staff and administrators.