President Satish Tripathi should establish his presence through promises fulfilled
UB President’s priorities need to be reinforced through action
Although UB President Satish Tripathi feels he has a noticeable presence on campus, The Spectrum editorial board doesn’t recall seeing him around much – though his presence was certainly noted by Spectrum staff when Tripathi took the time to sit down and meet Sara DiNatale, the paper’s editor in chief.
A 2013 poll found the vast majority of UB students – 82 percent of the 700 surveyed – don’t feel Tripathi is visible on campus.
But Tripathi doesn’t have to spend more time walking along the Spine to make a noticeable impact on the quality of UB students’ academic experiences.
If he can make good on his promises regarding South Campus’ renovation and improvement to the University Heights neighborhood, then students will surely take note.
As UB’s medical school prepares to move downtown in 2017, it’s up to Tripathi to ensure that South Campus doesn’t become a ghost town.
The campus has great potential – with grassy hills and a more classic spacious quad than North Campus, the area could be a thriving space for students, but only if there’s a reason for students to go there.
The plan to move the School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Education to South Campus is promising, but those programs need buildings to move into – buildings that need renovations, or downright replacing.
Tripathi has pledged to finally get rid of so-called temporary buildings – which, after a 50-year stay on South Campus seem not so short-term. That would certainly improve the look of South Campus, and more importantly, act as an indication Tripathi intends to make good on his promises.
The current restoration of Hayes Hall, a $50 million project that won’t be done for another year, will hopefully be just the beginning, as Tripathi has said he plans to improve the infrastructure of multiple buildings on campus.
Of course, it’s also critical that conditions off-campus are improved, as crime remains an issue and students still don’t feel safe in the area.
Though Tripathi’s meetings with Common Council member Rasheed Wyatt and his continuation of housing blitzes seem helpful, his feeling that UB is taking an active role in the area is less, because more needs to be done.
Better buildings and academic activity need to be supplemented by a neighborhood where students feel protected.
Because ultimately, a revitalized South Campus and a safer community surrounding it would mean a lot more than seeing Tripathi’s face at Tim Horton’s.
And outreach and interaction can come in many forms – Tripathi can make his presence felt on campus in more ways than one.
He doesn’t have to meet with students face to face to encourage them to see eye to eye with him.
If Tripathi makes communicating with students in any form a priority – such as taking more polls, listening to students’ requests and noting the concerns the student body puts forth via The Spectrum – that would be a welcome sight on campus. It’s also important Tripathi seriously listens to the larger Buffalo community as he makes plans to alter the landscape of downtown and University Heights – it is called University at Buffalo after all.
The Editorial Board can be contacted at email@example.com