President Schulz, Cutting Programs Is A Mistake

President Schulz, Cutting Programs Is A Mistake

Fixing WSU's fiscal health means nothing if you hurt your students in the process.
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I am a die-hard Coug. The second I laid eyes on this campus, I knew it was going to be my second home. I am in my fifth semester here, and I could not be happier with my school.

Until I got an email from the Office of the President, Kirk Schulz.

"As you know from my communications during the past year, the University has been spending more money than it has brought in over the past four years."

I read the first few lines and almost tapped out of the email. These things happen all the time, right? Schools are always spending more money than they should, especially with new buildings being put up on every empty hill.

But something caught my eye further down the page.

"While we are working hard to minimize the impact of these cuts on students, faculty, staff, and the community, difficult decisions must be made. And while our personnel are the University’s most valuable resource, salaries and benefits make up approximately 85 percent of the budget."

Ok...budget cuts are one thing, but cutting personnel is a huge decision. It makes sense that 85 percent of the budget is salaries and benefits.

Here's the thing. A school is only as good as the instructors. You can have all the high-tech facilities and fancy buildings you want, but all that means absolutely nothing without faculty to lead and guide students. Ultimately, we are here to learn, not to check out the new napping pods and meditation rooms.

I kept reading the email and stopped short. I reread it several times to make sure I was reading it correctly.

"In its seventh year, the Performing Arts program has provided outstanding entertainment and arts for the University and the community. It has contributed significantly to the cultural richness of our community. However, ticket sales, grants, and gifts are not enough to keep it financially viable. More than $1.6 million in funding from University reserves has been used to support the program since its inception. This approach is simply not sustainable given other pressing budget challenges we face. Unfortunately, this means that positions will be eliminated when the Performing Arts program is ended at the close of this performance season."

Why is it that whenever a shortage of money is discussed, the arts are the first to go? Sure, STEM programs are important and we need doctors and scientists to survive, but what about our artists? What about the students who spend countless hours in Daggy perfecting scenes, running lines, and learning choreography? Why are they not important?

Last year, I was cast in the WSU Performing Arts' production of She Kills Monsters. It changed my life. I met people who will be my friends long after I graduate. I learned more about myself than sitting through biology ever could have taught me. I got to share something important, something magical with the rest of the world and it was amazing.

President Schulz, you want to take that away from us?

I don't understand.

Performing Arts isn't even the only area being destroyed.

"Temporary employees in the Office of Multicultural Student Services and in the Office of Equity and Diversity have been funded for multiple years using University reserves. Several two-year temporary positions were established to support an increasing number of diverse students. However, no permanent funding was designated at the time of their creation and no permanent funding has been identified since then. Again, a difficult decision is required since we cannot continue to fund these positions from our reserves. As a result, we will not be able to renew several temporary employment contracts."

Can someone please explain to me how cutting positions that increase the diversity on this campus is a good thing. A "difficult decision?" Please.

The icing on the cake. This is what really got me.

"These decisions are painful. They will disrupt lives, and the consequences of eliminating and reducing positions will ripple throughout our community. But as much as I and members of the leadership team regret the necessity of these actions, they must be taken in order to restore the University’s overall fiscal health."

Wait. So, you're telling us that these are decisions that will ruin lives and hurt the community...but don't worry, this will help our fiscal health?

I don't think so.

You are hurting your students. You are ruining a community that has worked so hard to make a name for itself. You are eliminating positions that exist to make WSU the school it claims to be. Improving this university's fiscal status means nothing if this is your solution.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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