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Administration addresses campus concerns at Behind the Scenes meeting

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Rick Kremenski, Karl Speicker and President Lesley Di Mare discuss campus issues at a Behind the Scenes meeting. | Photo by Jason Prescott
Admin members Rick Kremenski, Karl Speicker and President Lesley Di Mare discuss campus issues at a Behind the Scenes meeting. | Photo by Jason Prescott

Students, faculty and staff got together April 13 for a monthly “Behind the Scenes” meeting with university administration members to cover questions about what’s going on at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Administration members present included President Lesley Di Mare, Vice President for Finance and Administration Karl Spiecker and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Rick Kremenski.

This month’s meeting covered subject matter on marijuana research on campus, gender disparities on campus, possible new degrees to offer, a healthy kids event on campus, energy savings, the 78th Annual International Extravaganza, expansion on the Occhiato University Center and the closing of Belmont Residence Hall.

Researchers at CSU-Pueblo have been speaking to legislators in Denver about impacts of marijuana on the campus. A rumor stated that the idea was shot down, however, a research proposal may just happen.

“We should be getting the almost $1 million,” Di Mare said.

Out of the $1 million, “$50 thousand was going to go towards impact studies,” Di Mare said.

In spite of the plans, though, the campus is facing more problems with the idea of having marijuana on campus.

“A group of people on the ballot don’t want recreational weed in Pueblo,” Kremenski said.

Although the weed would be on campus, it would be used strictly for research purposes.

The meeting also spoke about gender disparities on campus and found that, “gender was not statistically significant,” Kremenski said. The ultimate concern came down to whether or not male student employees make more than females.

He noted that these sort of studies take several years to discover whether female employees are paid less than male employees.

CSU-Pueblo has also submitted eight new ideas for degrees to be taught at the university and are hoping for three to five new majors. The board meeting for this will be held on May 5 and 6.

Upcoming events at the university include “fitness fun” for kids from kindergarten to eighth grade as well as parents, staff and students on April 23. The event is aimed to help kids learn about a healthy, active lifestyle choices as well as have fun. It is from 9 a.m. to noon. The first 300 kids will also receive a free T-shirt.

Another important issue covered was energy saving on campus. Goals for the university include saving money, as well as becoming a more eco-friendly campus.

“At the end of the day, we will have a smaller carbon footprint on campus. This is something we’re excited about,” Spiecker said.

Small changes such as lighting are estimated to pay itself back overtime.

A second rumor has also popped up on campus about the Annual International Extravaganza being cancelled this year due to a marijuana-laced pastry incident last year. However, this rumor was shut down.

According to Di Mare, last year there was a pot-laced cake brought to the event, which lead to several students getting sick. After the incident, Chartwells, the university’s food provider, did not want to supply food to the event this year for liability issues.

Di Mare offered the option of allowing students to participate in a potluck, but it would only be open to the international students, who would have had sign a waiver beforehand. Students decided to cancel the event instead.

Chartwells has also become a topic of complaint at the meeting. Students and staff have complained about the Pack Café not being open over the summer. This is because Chartwells doesn’t make enough money over the summer. This situation can make summer living in Pueblo unattractive to international students.

Regardless, the Pack Café will also be expanded from the OUC this upcoming November.

“The new OUC is going to be a bright and beautiful place,” Kremenski said.

There are also plans of adding another food truck onto campus due to its popularity.

Lastly, the administration members addressed Belmont Hall, which has been sitting vacant for the past year.

Di Mare said Belmont only had about 30 applicants for the 2015-2016 school year. The building is over 60 years old and needs a lot of repairs, but costs too much money. It would cost an estimated $18 million to renovate, and even a few million dollars to tear it down, which is the ideal plan. So far, no plans are set for the building.

No date for the next meeting was announced.