Online Transcript: Fox Speaks Out

    For four years now at the year’s start, the UCSD Guardian’s Editorial Board has met with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox to discuss major news issues and pertinent campus events. Here are extended excerpts from the transcript composed from the board’s meeting with her on Sept. 26:

    GUARDIAN:
    Students are wondering how the transition is going to be between [former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson] and [Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue]. How do you think that is going along? How do you think Dr. Rue will be able to help students?

    CHANCELLOR MARYE ANNE FOX:
    She was dean of students at the University of Virginia, which is a very social campus. Students are very, very active in the classroom; of course it’s a great university as well. She was dean of students for a long time, and before that at Georgetown. I think she’s come in, landed on her feet and she’s just off and running.

    She’s been around, just like I go around. I usually go around each year to help with [move-in weekend] to see the parents that are irate.
    (laughter)

    Last year, they were irate about having three [students] in a room because they weren’t anticipating it. This year, we prepared them for it, and they were perfectly happy with it.

    It was interesting, I thought, that given this reaction at the beginning of the year, when they had the option to split up to move back to one or two per a room.

    Just a followup comment: I’ve made it a rule that every search committee have at least one student member on it, even for areas that don’t really affect students too much. For the student affairs one, students were overrepresented, actually the faculty were feeling a little …
    (laughter)

    We also had multiple alumna, and they were quite vocal about student issues. So I think the search process has worked really well.

    GUARDIAN:
    Do you think the student emphasis was why the search committee recommended Dr. Rue?

    FOX:
    Absolutely, absolutely. All the finalists were very focused on student life.

    GUARDIAN:
    What made Penny Rue stand apart from the other finalists?

    FOX:
    This obvious love she has for students. She just is devoted to their success. At the same time, she’s devoted to students having a safe time oncampus … I think she was actually interviewing during Sun God week, and we almost lost some kids last year. So something is going to have to be done. We’re going to have illicit support from the student body on how to make it safe but still fun …
    We have so few traditions that you don’t want to do away with it, but you would like to make it safe. I think that the additional housing we have planned oncampus will probably get a more vibrant evening life — I wouldn’t want to say nightlife — but evening life, with more people oncampus.

    GUARDIAN:
    There’s going to be more housing?

    FOX:
    A lot more housing, for transfer students, for graduate students for medical students.

    GUARDIAN:
    With the publication of both [the Monitor Group and Regent George Blum
    reports] criticizing the UC system, what are your thoughts on what the response should be?

    FOX:
    It’s certainly a time for the university to examine itself. President Dynes has had many important contributions, but he’s been criticized, particularly in the press. In a way, I don’t think he got a fair deal because this the compensation scandal, the only thing scandalous about it is that salaries for faculty, staff and administrators here are very low compared to other places. So for the newspapers to call that scandalous behavior is sort of strange to me.

    GUARDIAN:
    There was a lot of talk about efficiency within the [University of California Office of the President].

    FOX:
    They’re going to certainly look for efficiencies in ways that constrain costs around. It’s a laudable goal.

    GUARDIAN:
    How heavily does that impact UCSD?

    FOX:
    We’ve already been trying to do things that are efficient in terms of using the resources we have. For example, utility costs have just skyrocketed. We’re negotiating with various private sector suppliers to put photovoltaics on our roofs.

    We have research-level proposals going on, and one is to take advantage of the very cold water off the coast, put that water through a heat exchanger to generate electricity that way. That’s through the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. We haven’t do that yet, it’s just an example of how we’re thinking of all the ways to conserve. It’s complicated as well, because this is an area of special biological importance. And as a result, there are restrictions in terms of water exchange.

    GUARDIAN:
    Do you think the reports had any correlation to Dynes’ resignation?

    FOX:
    Dynes wanted to resign. I think the driving force was he’d done this five years. The average for chancellors or presidents in the United States is about five years at the most. Even I’m coming up on that, this is my fourth year. But Dynes was in his fifth year, so it was time for him to think about a transition.

    GUARDIAN:
    What is your take on the status of the campus’ parking?

    FOX:
    We certainly do want to encourage alternate transportation, first of all. And second, we’re under constraints by the UC Board of Regents, that say parking has to be self-supported. So if the wages go up for those that help with parking, then the costs have to go up and be distributed. So there’s a question now on the books about whether or not we need another structured parking garage. There were the constructions going on around the music center, and this whole area outside of Price Center is going to draw much more traffic than in the past.

    But structured parking is very expensive. So you share some of the cost of that structured parking over the rest of the campus. So you can imagine, that will be used mainly by students who would be coming in the evening to use Price Center or go to the concerts at the new music building. And yet, professors on the other side of campus are going to have their rates go up as well. So it’s not only students complaining about rates. It’s always a judgment call determining what kind of parking goes where. To the extent that they can use alternate parking, that helps. Service parking is a lot cheaper than structured parking, but it requires a lot of land.

    So, that’s why I have a parking advisory group, so they can help make those decisions. Because they’re not clear. Questions of morality are clearer, this is not clear.

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