Commencement location defended at ASI meeting
Associated Students, Inc. hosted a webinar on Thursday, May 12 to address issues Cal State LA’s student body has about the state of the university.
Among the topics discussed were the return to campus in the fall, commencement ceremonies, renovations, safety and new additions to Cal State LA’s counseling and advising.
“We fully anticipate that we’ll be back in-person in the fall semester,” said Octavio Villalpando, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Indoor masks are still required and encouraged outside, but the Director of Student Health Center, Grace Castillo, said that protocols can change at any moment given county and campus conditions.
Regarding the upcoming graduation, Cal State LA President William Covino said the baseball field used last year for the ceremony is under renovation and unsuitable for commencement this year.
“We have picked what I think is a great, accessible spot and are creating what I think is going to be a beautiful commencement pavilion,” Covino said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”
Commencement will be held in the parking lot this year, much to the dismay of many students.
Covino added that other years with larger venues saw challenges because of bad weather, proximity to students and visibility.
“Here we are at the end of a COVID year when there are still regulations in place wanting to have a commencement in a shaded outdoor setting so folks can feel comfortable about those conditions and to recognize every student and to have plenty of space for friends and family,” he said. “The pavilion seemed to be the best choice.”
No decisions have been made for next year’s commencement ceremony, according to Covino.
“We’re always trying to get better in one way or another and also deal with the contingencies and regulations that are in place,” he said.
Barbara Queen is the associate vice president of facilities planning for design and construction. Queen said there are plans to renovate the physical education building’s locker room, which will help in “creating a brand new space that feels safe and modern.”
Another project in its early stages is a distributed antenna system to help with cell phone reach on campus.
“What we’re trying to do is bring higher level reception into buildings across campus,” Queen said. “We’ll be looking at installation in the next couple of months.”
Two elevators in King Hall’s A Wing are in the works, but Cal State LA is in the process of gathering the equipment necessary to repair them.
Queen said the Metro platform elevator will also be replaced. The University Times has previously reported that many students experience difficulty with this elevator frequently.
The Counseling and Psychological Services Department will also be seeing some growth.
Castillo said the university is “continuously working at increasing the number of CAPS counselors available to serve students.” To add to the 10 current counselors hired, “our goal is to hire an additional five before the fall semester begins.”
In light of recent auto thefts in Cal State LA parking lots, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administration Joyce Williams said she is “working consistently with our public safety department to make sure that we are actually increasing our resources around community service officers (and) being more present where we need to be.”
She said she has listened to students and considered their feedback about the issue.