ETTRICK, Va. (WRIC) — Just two weeks into the job and Virginia State University’s interim president has made some sweeping changes.
Dr. Pamela Hammond has implemented a hiring freeze, plus no purchases or travel unless they are absolutely necessary. This a message she shared with staff recently.
“We would run Virginia State University as a business, we will not spend more money than we are taking in,” says Dr. Hammond.
8News anchor, Ava-joye Burnett sat down for an interview with Dr. Hammond. “Will the quality of life, the quality of education here at Virginia State University be impacted with all the changes?” Ava-joye asked.
Dr. Hammond responded: “We will not impact the quality of our academic programs. Students are coming here for a first class education and that’s what they are getting.”
Last fall, students started galvanizing for change. The school was almost $19 million in the hole, and some students blamed former president, Dr. Keith Miller.
Today, there’s a different feel on campus.
“We are excited to have this new change. the atmosphere on campus is pretty calm,” says Anthony Jackson, a senior. “I see her putting changes in place that I feel like are taking a step in the right direction,” says Lamarcus Wise, junior at VSU.
Dr. Hammond says she’s focusing on increasing enrollment by strategic recruiting, increasing grant writing among her faculty, engaging alum and providing resources for students so that they can have access to the necessary funding they need to pay for school. Dr. Hammond says she will also focus on improving communication between the administration and students.
“They are our reason for being. If we did not have the students, why would we need a Virginia State University or any other university,” she says.
When asked if she will apply for the permanent position as president, Hammond answered, “I don’t really worry a lot about what’s next, but of course I will be applying for the president of Virginia State University, but I don’t get up every morning with that on my mind,” she says.