Written By: Kristin Whitman
“Look at me about to walk into the fire,” President William McKinney said, laughing as he almost stepped into the projector set up with a scenic fire for the Fireside chat Tuesday night in the Powell Hall Auditorium.
It was a time to sit back, relax and cozy up by the crackling fire as a question and answer session with Dr. McKinney and others was set up by the Student Government Association.
The event was a time for students, faculty and staff to interact and work together to discuss what is being done about issues on campus.
Many of VSU’s faculty attended such as the director of financial services, Traycee Martin; provost, Hudson Rogers; IT’s chief information officer, Brian Haugabrook; director of auxiliary services, Shannon McGee; assistant director of housing for resident education, Mark McNally; and director of housing and residence life, Tom Harding.
The meeting went on for two hours with several questions to be answered by the faculty.
One of the questions that got a lot of attention from attendees at the event was, “What can VSU do to become a division one sports school?”
McKinney quickly stood up to answer.
“You do not want to see the extra of millions of dollars it would take to become a D-1 school,” McKinney said. “The pot of gold does not exist, but if I had the millions of dollars it takes to go D-1, I would use it on student scholarships first.”
This answer received a round of applause from the room.
Throughout the rest of the meeting, many people asked about Palms Dining Hall and the improvements needed, mandatory fees for students and the new midnight shuttle issues.
IT’s Chief Officer handed out an informational update sheet to the students in attendance describing the four main updates to look forward to in the near future during an intermission.
Another question that raised a lot of eyebrows was about the scenario of an 11 percent budget cut from the state appropriation that could happen to VSU along with other public universities in the state.
McKinney rapidly took the microphone to inform students about this budget cut.
“We are a public university, but less than half of our overall budget comes from the state of Georgia,” McKinney said. “When you take that into consideration, that comes out to be only about a five percent cut overall.”
McKinney later mentioned that a budget meeting would be taking place as an open forum on Dec. 5 in the Student Union theater.