Proenza, ASG look to UA's future

“On Thursday, the University of Akron’s Associated Student Government received a visit from university president Luis Proenza. Proenza addressed the group about the year to come and the future of UA and Ohio’s higher education system. He started by thanking them for their efforts to help UA.”

On Thursday, the University of Akron’s Associated Student Government received a visit from university president Luis Proenza.

Proenza addressed the group about the year to come and the future of UA and Ohio’s higher education system. He started by thanking them for their efforts to help UA.

Student government has really begun to come in the past few years, he said.

Proenza then discussed numerous changes that have taken place at the university and more that are yet to come. Some of the improvements he mentioned include the construction of the on-campus InfoCision Stadium and Summa Field and residence halls. He also mentioned the acquisition of Quaker Square, and the addition of a new parking deck to address the current parking situation.

Students need a hunting license, not a parking permit, in order to find a spot, Proenza joked.

He also discussed other changes that would take place on campus. According to Proenza, the UA is beginning developments in efficiency and conservation by instituting energy-saving actions.

Be responsible. Be informed, Proenza advised.

Numerous issues surrounding the stadium were also addressed.

In regard to the efforts of UA to close many of the businesses on Exchange Street, Proenza said that the university was working on finding alternative locations for businesses.

A university cannot have more than 10 percent of its campus dedicated to commercial activity, he said.

As for questions regarding alcohol sales at the stadium, Proenza stated that the board still had not come to a decision.

If we are to have alcohol sales, we will have two critical requirements. Proenza said. We enforce responsible drinking, and that we will carry a strong educational program.

Plans to fight crime in the university area were also addressed.

The University Park Alliance is coming in to revitalize Akron neighborhoods. It began approximately five years ago and has recently been augmented by a Knight Foundation donation of $10 million. Proenza promised this would be used for change.

In the next five years, you will see as many changes off-campus as you have seen on-campus, he said.

However, despite all these new plans to change UA and revitalize the surrounding area, the hot topic for discussion was the possible merger between Cleveland State University and UA.

As stated before, Proenza could not give any details. He did, however, give a general idea of what the Ohio university system meant to UA.

The university system describes what we already have, but the system may help improve and innovate our institution, Proenza said. We are asking the question, do we want something more meaningful to happen?

Proenza’s ideas were not a formal proposal, as any such measure would require legislative action.

The Ohio university system and rumors of the merger came about when H.B.2 was passed. The bill called for a new form of educational governance to be established in Ohio. The chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Eric Fingerhut, was given the job by Gov. Ted Strickland, and was given the task of planning the University System of Ohio.

This talk is exciting, and potentially for the better, Proenza said.