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The Spectator talks with President Schloss

 The Spectator has the monthly oppourtunity to sit down with VSU President Dr. Patrick J. Schloss. This month the main topics of disscussion were homecoming, the complaints of the health center turning away students and the forum held on Monday in regards to the Confederate flag. Students are urged to submit questions to The Spectator for next month. Send questions to gljohnson@valdosta.edu

Homecoming:

“I book the entire week from seven in the morning until it seems like midnight every night. It’s really a celebration of people coming back and bonding again with the things that are so important about Valdosta State. Unique to me, we began an honor marshal for the parade. We try to pick people that can carry out the character of the university who have risen above challenges who have distinguished themselves against odds. This year’s marshal is Richard Collier.

I will definitely be at the step show. I will run around to all the traditions, the fraternity and sororities that have folks coming back. When I’m invited I will go even if it means going for 20 minutes to one and 20 minutes to the other one. I always go to Wild Adventures; I’m one for one and will do my annual dive off the tower. I’m going to keep my eyes open this time.”

 Football: Still have faith?

“Absolutely. I spent 5-6 years at Penn State and saw two national championships there. Joe Paterno, who is a very wise man, was quoted after the second one as saying ‘I hope we haven’t developed here an expectation that every year will be a national championship, because that would be a curse,’ I’m paraphrasing. The idea that you got to think that you’re going to have a winning season every year is a curse. Let’s say we lose three games this year and everyone puts their head down and says “do you still have faith,” well how evil would that be to believe that you ought  to win every game, you didn’t grow up on this earth. When you start to win every game then you become dissatisfied that you’re not playing good enough competition. I have every bit of faith, and furthermore I like these guys. I’ve gotten to know a number of them very well and they’re very personable, they’re very capable and they’re just good people. Scores don’t trump quality folk.”

Predictions:

“We’re going to make the playoffs, no doubt about it.”

 Challenges with growth:

“To have people to look to the future and to the richness that occurs with a larger more diverse, more expansive student body and the resources they bring. Folks that were here in the 70s and 80s might have a tendency to think that’s who we are and not to think that we might be closer to the University of Georgia and who we will be than the who we were, being 6,000 students.

The second challenge is real estate. We are an urban campus. It’s a funny thing but very much like Georgia State we’re in a piece of land tightly surrounded by very nice neighborhoods, neighborhoods you don’t really want to disturbed. So working out a method to acquire more real estate to add building and opportunities is a major challenge.”

 Sports:

“I believe it is a critical part of a traditional, comprehensive campus existence, campus life to have athletic competition to draw students together. I think it’s more important for all of us than it is for the athletes. We will continue to look for areas where we can engage our students and possible students in additional opportunities in additional athletic competition and that will go on as long as I’m here. We’ve announced soccer and we’re already looking at other possibilities. The challenge here is we have to find opportunities where there is good competition relatively close by where we would have competitive advantage in fielding a team and we have to be particularly attentive to opportunities for young women. We’re significantly out of balance in the number of opportunities we offer for young women and that’s something that we have as a mission to continue to focus on.”

 Football stadium:

“The football stadium is a problem that we continue to work on day after day, but there are a couple significant problems and that’s why it hasn’t been solved by any of the previous presidents and why for me it’s a plan and not a solution. First off we would estimate the cost of a stadium to be in the $20 million range. Debt service on $20 million would take away every scholarship we offer within our athletic program. It would have to be paid by student fees or by private gifts. By magnitude of the cost it would far exceed any cost we’re currently paying for our entire athletic operation.”

 Smoking:

“We’ve talked about this a great deal and it’s almost unenforceable. Do we authorize the police to go talk to young people who are smoking too close to a building; that will start a war I’m afraid. It would be a very tough position to put the police in. You can’t ask the faculty [to enforce it], that’s a no brainer. We have to petition all the campus body for self-policing and self-discipline.”

 Health Center:

“We added another provider yesterday. We’ve been running with three providers, a physician and two nurse practitioners and as of yesterday we’ve authorized the employment of a fourth provider, another nurse practitioner. There has been a 10 percent increase, a little more that the enrollment growth and so the complaints are fully justified. I really believe the health service professionals are waiting to see where it settled in and it settled in at a higher level than they expected. They didn’t want to put someone on not knowing that they were going to fully need them, but they will add that person. If one is not sufficient then we will add additional employees.”

 Confederate flag flying:

 “I am very proud that a campus organization hosted the forum and that there was a lively discussion that both sides engaged in that discussion. I believe strongly that a university is a cauldron of ideas and I believe that the solution to that problem, however you want to frame it, is by people coming to a mutual understanding of one another’s views and reaching a commitment to civility.”

 Zombieland:

“I will want to see it. I heard he [Woody Harrelson] was very good with the students. I bet we could have worked out a meet Woody.”

 

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