The construction around campus is not the most pleasant of sights and is not welcoming for incoming students. The construction is not new to this semester, beginning in the summer with the traffic situation at Frederick and George, and now we see it with the SMC and the current fences that have been placed around Gordinier.
The interesting aspect of the construction is the budget issue in which the university has recently been talking about. The economic climate in which our country is in has hampered much of our lives. It truly is interesting that the construction here at Millersville has not seen problems from these budget issues.
President McNairy sent out a letter November 2, 2009 regarding the budget issues. In the letter she says “the University put a hold on many facility projects” and also on the University website under Budget Issues 2009-2010 through 2011-12 through the Budget homepage, the University says that “repair and renovation of facilities and the university’s equipment budget have been reduced by 50 percent.” Try not to forget the building that was just bought by the university in downtown Lancaster for $13.5 million. Especially when the “money for the building, renovations, furniture and equipment will come from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) capital construction fund.”
How can this be when construction is rampant throughout our campus? Better question: Why buy buildings downtown when there seem to be enough being built on campus? This money is coming from somewhere, so where exactly?
The website makes the distinction between the two different budgets for which the university uses: “Education and General, which is funded by State Appropriation and tuition revenue, and Auxiliary Services, which is funded by student fees, room and board fees, and other miscellaneous revenue.”
It is very understandable that state funds have been cut which makes the first budget strict, and that is the reason there are plans to increase “the current ration from four percent out-of-state students to 10 percent.” Which would in turn “increase revenue by more than $1.5 million.” What is even more interesting is that all PASSHE schools receive more funding for in-state students than they do for out-of-state students, so why the change now?
The website also houses stats on student-faculty ratio on campus from 1995, 2003 and today. They say “there were 338 full time faculty…presently, there are 361 full time faculty positions.” That the student-faculty ration in 2003 was at 18:2, which today is 18:3. Where did these stats come from? Were they magically conjured up to make their extreme plans for the university possible?
If the state is having trouble paying current bills for their schools why does a “capital construction fund” exist to pay $13.5 million for a building not on campus? There are too many questions and holes in the answers that the university poses and the state pose.
Ultimately, the university needs to be looking out for their number one priority, the students. It is great that they feel a better student center and nicer dining facilities will make our lives better and we are sure they will. But we must realize that maybe now is not the time.
We know it is too late to erase the progress that has been done on our campus and also we do not want to take away from the great job that these men and women are doing to improve the campus. We must ask the question though of how responsible is our university being with the money we pay? Remember, if it were not for us, the university would not exist.