Students gather to “Ask Ora”


Elyse Gregory

President Ora Pescovitz answers questions from students concerned about various issues related to OU.

On Monday, Oct. 2, students, staff and faculty nearly filled the Oakland Center’s Gold Rooms for a chance to ask Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Vice President of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh a question. Student representatives from Oakland University Student Congress and the Residence Halls Association led the discussion.

Questions centered around advice, grade point average, administration and the cost of college. Below are some of students’ questions as well as Pescovitz’ and McIntosh’s answers.

What advice would you give to college students?

… Be open to experiences, even the ones that you don’t like. Because it’s good to learn what you like and what you don’t like. Be open to all of it.

How did you decide on your major in college?

I was debating between becoming a musician and a doctor all through high school. I couldn’t decide. But I wasn’t good enough to be a musician, so I became a doctor. I think being a musician is way harder than being a physician.

The cost of college is not affordable for many,  how do you plan on keeping Oakland affordable?

Thank you for your question, I think it’s an important one… I don’t want to make your education worth less. So, I don’t want to make your education experience less than it is today by giving you an education that is worth less at another university. I want this university experience [to be great]. So, for that, it’s going to be costly. I don’t think it’s likely that I’m going to lower the cost of tuition here. What I would like to do is make it more accessible and affordable by getting more scholarships… But it’s a very challenging situation.

Would you ever make cuts to administration?

… What is important for you all to understand is how much money is needed for infrastructure versus how much money is needed to run each component of an enterprise. One needs to spend money in administration in order for an infrastructure to run… I will tell you that [Oakland] is a lean university… Our total budget for the university is about $300 million. My budget when I was the CEO at the University of Michigan Health System was over $3.3 billion. We have a lot less money to do a lot of things.

Have you thought of homelessness in our student population? Do you have any plans with the new residence hall? (Answered by McIntosh)

The good thing about Oakland is that we have a very socially conscious. In the plans for the Oakland Center renovation we’ll have a food pantry and space for a clothes closet… When students share with us that they’re homeless, we kind of work behind the scenes to take care of them… [But there is no plan in place to house homeless students in the new residence hall].

What do you plan to do in regard to mental health services? (Answered by McIntosh)

… There is a real growing need. As you guys know, all the studies show that this is the most stressed out generation ever… We respect that and are always seeing how we can interject services he didn’t say. We do have two counseling services on campus, there is one in the School of Education as well as the Graham Health Center. If you can’t get into one fast enough, try the other.