November 10, 2004
NEW YORK - A panel of university presidents gathered Tuesday evening in Manhattan to debate issues from budget concerns to shrinking numbers of minorities on campus.
The discussion was moderated by Arizona State University President Michael Crow.
Reporters from The New York Times, Baltimore Sun, CBS, ABC, Money, Bloomberg News Service, Time and other news organizations posed questions to Crow.
Freeman Hraboski, president of the University of Maryland’s Baltimore College, pointed out that he was the only black person at the table and said universities need to take steps to eliminate the gap between white and minority children in America. He said it is a university’s faculty — not its administration — that decides whether diversity on campus is important.
"We have a long way to go," he said.
David Skorton of the University of Iowa said universities weaken their case by complaining as much as they do about their budgets. As the economy improves, the first dollars should go to human services and then to higher education, he said.
Crow agreed, saying that whining and open disrespect for state legislators has hurt universities.
He said university presidents need to change their argument from a lack of social justice to economic independence. He called it the argument of return.
Crow went on to say that ASU has raised tuition 60 percent over two years and will probably raise it again this year. Nearly 85 percent of the students support this, though, he said
They want the proceeds used for financial aid, faculty salaries, 24-hour access to the library, expansion of faculty and wireless networking. Crow said ASU has taken steps to improve each.