The University of Akron's Interim President Holds His First Student Town Hall

[photo: Kabir Bhatia/ WKSU]
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by Kabir Bhatia

The University of Akron’s interim president held his first town hall with students Wednesday.

Matthew Wilson took over in July after spending two years as the dean of Akron’s law school. He follows the “turbulent” administration of Scott Scarborough, who resigned in May. But Wilson says some good still came out of that period.

“If there was ever any question about the value of the University of Akron to this community, I think that answer was resolved. I mean, there was a resounding ‘yes’ as people stepped up and they talked about why the University of Akron mattered. The opinions might have differed in terms of what the vision was for the future, but you could see how invested they were and how much they cared about the university as an institution,” he says.

The college president says he’s encouraged by the positivity and momentum on campus since he took the reins, and adds that it would be “wonderful” to be able to continue that beyond his interim period, which lasts until January, 2018.

In a town hall Wednesday, he took questions about the future of graduate assistantships, programs that may be cut and even how to recruit new students.

“It seems like he doesn’t necessarily have the answer, but it’s not about giving us that answer now – that he doesn’t have, or making something up on the fly – it’s more about knowing that he has the resources to find something out for us and to find out what’s going to work best for us,” says Cassandra Durell, a senior mathematics major, who says she was reassured by Wilson’s commitment to transparency.

Wilson acknowledges that enrollment is down -- but not as much as projected for this year – and that he hopes to be able to look less at cutting programs and more at strategic investment opportunities.

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