Schulz addresses state of WSU

CAITLIN GROVER | Evergreen reporter

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At his State of the University address Wednesday, President Kirk Schulz kicked off the “Drive to 25” campaign to make WSU a top-25 research institution by 2030.

The action plan will be finalized in December, Schulz said, adding that he wants people at the finalization meeting to contribute their opinions and how they feel WSU will be affected.

“With a budget, we want to be transparent,” he said. “We want everyone to know where the budget is.”

This budget include $10.8 million to support 60 first-year students and 60 second-year students attending the Elson S. Floyd Medical School, Schulz said.

The budget also has money going toward capital funding projects, he said, including $1 billion for the Food and Agricultural Industry. About $59 million of that is for the Plant Sciences Building and about $38 million is for Global Animal Health Phase II, Schulz said.

“We will describe what we need,” Schulz said, “and it is up to legislature to figure out how to fund it.”

With his ‘Drive to 25’ campaign, Schulz said he hopes to gratify WSU graduates with open doors and opportunities immediately after graduation.

“If people see that WSU diploma on the wall,” he said, “we want them to say, ‘If I had to hire only one accountant, only one engineer, I want it to be a WSU graduate.’ ”

Schulz took a few questions from audience members, including ASWSU senators and various graduate and undergraduate students.

One person asked through The Daily Evergreen Twitter account about the commitment WSU administration claims to have to undocumented students and what “tangible form” it will take, to which Schulz said the administration has met with student leaders regarding the issue.

“There’s been some demands to declare ourselves a sanctuary campus,” he said, “and we will work on those for our faculty and staff, and try to work on implementing those in a reasonable way.”

Another asked how he is transparent and available to undergraduates, other than through his Twitter account.

“I am most accessible through email,” Schulz said, “and through Twitter and LinkedIn, that’s how I usually communicate with students.” He said he is open to suggestions for new modes of communication.

Schulz also said he attends ASWSU Senate meetings as often as he can. However, according to Sen. Kevin Schilling, he has only met with the whole ASWSU Senate once at a dinner.

Prior to questions, Schulz spent a portion of his presentation describing WSU’s achievements over the past year, noting the record enrollments across campuses.

WSU Vancouver has seen an enrollment increase of 17 percent in their freshmen class and WSU Everett an enrollment of 2,000 students, Schulz said

In addition to enrollment increase, Schulz spoke about the diversity on WSU campuses and in Washington overall. He said one-third of the incoming freshman to the Pullman campus are minorities.

According to a WSU news release, 23.8 percent of Pullman’s incoming freshman are minorities

“40 percent of the incoming freshman class are first-generation college students,” he said.