Randel, Crown meet with student leaders on University issuesBy Josh Schonwald
Following the Thursday, Oct. 28 University Board of Trustees meeting, President Randel and Chairman of the Board of Trustees James Crown held another of their regular discussions with student leaders.
From the status of the University’s capital campaign, the Chicago Initiative, to the future of the blues in Hyde Park, Randel and Crown addressed a wide range of issues in a 30-minute meeting with undergraduate and graduate leaders of student government and members of the student press.
Addressing the University’s financial health, Randel said that despite a downturn in philanthropic giving following 9/11, the Chicago Initiative, the University’s most ambitious capital campaign, is again on track to reach its goal of raising $2 billion by 2007.
Much of the discussion focused on the University’s recently announced plans to develop University-owned land south of the Midway Plaisance, with the addition of a mixed-use parking and retail structure at the intersection of 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue, and a new residence hall and dining hall complex.
The construction of the new residence hall and associated dining hall will soon move forward with the announcement of the design architect for the new building, Randel said. Stephen Klass, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, added that students would be actively engaged in an advisory role regarding the functioning of the new building. At various points during the architectural design phase, Klass said, the University will continue to consult with students about the details of the building, from room layouts to furnishing the shared community spaces to where to locate restrooms.
The reopening of the Checkerboard Lounge in its new location in Harper Court is expected within the next year, and Randel expressed his desire to see “the blues return to Hyde Park.”
Randel has met with students following University Board of Trustees meetings since becoming President of the University in 2000, making these student briefings a standard practice to keep students informed.
The two student liaisons to the Board of Trustees, Rush Atkinson, the undergraduate liaison, and Jason Blumberg, the graduate liaison, also addressed the group on the issues that members of the Student and Campus Life Committee of the Board of Trustees have discussed at their earlier meeting.