Written by Bryce Ethridge, Asst. Entertainment Editor
The school year has come to an end, so Valdosta State University President Richard Carvajal announced the budget plans for next year which show a variety of change for the university.
Carvajal said that since the school has been in an enrollment decline in the past years, the current plans for next year are to put more focus on the students since the size of the budget and enrollment are directly tied together.
Currently, the budget is not as much as the 2017 budget due to higher utility bills along with upcoming changes within VSU.
“Our retention has been an issue and I think it’s been an issue here for a long time,” Carvajal said. “It became clear that we were going to have to do some prioritization.”
Carvajal said that VSU was recognized as being understaffed in its ability to deal with risk management and student discipline, and that it needed a Dean of Students.
He also said that when they find an ideal person to be Dean of Students, he will report to VSU Vice President Vincent Miller, and will be over risk management and student programming.
“We were the only one that didn’t have a freestanding Dean of Students position and they (the University System) said that was a critical need we needed to address,” Carvajal said.
Carvajal said that along with the Dean of Students, VSU will be receiving a new unit called Student Success which will be over advising and dual-enrollment.
Carvajal spoke to the audience about why students leave VSU before finishing their degree and acknowledged how one bad experience could make a student feel uncomfortable.
“It comes down to that individual relationship. Something didn’t go right there and they decided because of that I’m not welcome here and this isn’t the place I need to go,” Carvajal said.
The VSU President then challenged the faculty and staff there to be more welcoming to students so they won’t think about leaving.
“I’m challenging you to understand that anything and everything you do every day that interacts with a student has a positive or negative impact on whether or not they stay with us,” Carvajal said.
Carvajal said that due to a recommendation from the National Advising Association VSU will be getting a director for advising to make sure that incidents regarding a bad advising situation don’t happen again.
“Students have told me very loudly and clearly that we need to make improvements in advising,” Carvajal said.
Carvajal ended the meeting by telling the audience that VSU should not be making students leave mid-way through their college career.
“If our budgets aren’t a big enough reason I’ll just remind you of this . . .I haven’t met one (student) yet and—I don’t think you have either—that came here on day one where their goal was to come to college for a while and leave here with debt and no degree,” Carvajal said.