Stan Albrecht has been Utah State University’s president for more than 11 years and announced his retirement in February. The USU Presidential Search Committee will wrap up its search for the university president in the coming weeks. Albrecht said he still has much to do before he officially retires.
“Particularly with our Fine Arts project, with the Clinical Services Building, the new science building, in all of those areas we need to continue to put together some funding in place so projects are complete,” Albrecht said. “And then even though I won’t be participating in the legislative session directly, there’s a lot of work preparing for it. I’ll be in Washington the rest of this week looking at some opportunities there, going forward. So yeah, it’s a busy time.”
But there are several issues that Albrecht won’t be able to address completely before he retires, and he knows the new president will have to pick up where he left off. One of these issues is mental health. Earlier this month, the school’s student government declared a mental health crisis at USU. The university has been asking the state for more funding to help address these issues.
“We’re facing significantly more mental health issues among our students than has been true in the past,” he said. “A new president, obviously, is going to need to be concerned and worried about that.”
Another problem USU faces is creating a streamlined reporting system for sexual assault. During the summer, four women approached the Salt Lake Tribune and said they’d all been raped by the same man and reported the incident to USU. But the man was never convicted. Albrecht said this circumstance made them realize the flaws in the university’s reporting system.
“That, in some ways, was sort of a perfect storm,” Albrecht said. “It wasn’t that we were doing anything wrong or that we didn’t have anything in place, it was that the dots weren’t connected. Because you have four individuals that reported to four different units, that themselves weren’t connected.”
Since then, Albrecht has made a list of recommended changes to the sexual assault reporting system. He hopes to see the future president work to make the system better.