By Adam Hartmann
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Robert Naples knows crisis management.
About 30 students at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., were sitting in President Bob Suzuki's outer office to protest a personnel appointment. They had also pilfered a six-pack of soda from his refrigerator, and the situation required action.
Naples, associate vice president for student affairs and Dean of Students at Cal Poly, entered the room and quickly restored order D the soda was paid for at once and the students were heard. He said his actions in that situation indicate his ability to handle crisis situations.
"They weren't going to listen to me because I walked in the room," Naples said yesterday at a student forum for each of the candidates for the vacant Dean of Students position at the University of Arizona. Seven students and one staff member attended the forum yesterday in the Student Union's Rincon Room.
Naples, who holds a doctorate in foundations of moral education, has worked in student affairs at Cal Poly since 1984. Prior to that, he was the associate dean of student affairs at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences.
He said students need to know that administrators care about and will listen to student concerns.
"Hopefully, the dean of students should have a finger on the pulse of what the student needs are," Naples said. "I can't always solve the problems, but I can be attentive to them."
James Aiken, director of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Association, asked Naples how he would integrate the needs of different students from the dean's position.
Naples said the Cal Poly administration is building a multicultural center with offices for each minority group to address minority student needs.
He also said the university addresses diversity issues by sponsoring a "cross-cultural" retreat, where 120 students, faculty and staff spend time together learning about each other.
"We try to educate each other truly to make the campus a multi-cultural and diverse place," Naples said. "It's not changing the culture of 18,000 students, but it is changing the culture of 120 students."
Anndi Kawamura, ASUA vice president-elect for programs and services, asked Naples how he would address the childcare needs of UA faculty and staff, since Cal Poly has a center of its own.
Naples also serves on the University Child Care Advisory Committee at Cal Poly.
He said the Cal Poly childcare center can exist because it receives its space from the university, pays the staff's salaries from student government funds and operates on user fees.
"We make it very clear this is a child-development center, not a baby-sitting operation," he said. "I think it's unfortunate that a campus of this size doesn't have childcare."
On April 25, David Farrell, associate dean of students at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., will be the last of five dean candidates to visit campus.
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