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 Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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10 Things Economics Majors Want You To Know

For the MOST part, it isn't that bad.

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I decided to become an economics major the day I started college — I know, it wasn't easy for me to decide. Well, technically the real reason why I even chose the major to begin with was that I was undecided when applying for colleges. I was, and still am, an indecisive person.

When I saw economics as one of the majors at Stony Brook, I thought it was something I was interested in. After all, it was the "study of markets and the behaviors of people in that same market." Besides psychology and philosophy (the two majors my parents didn't want me to study), I then chose econ. While it wasn't a piece of cake, it wasn't too challenging either. Here are a couple things we all want so desperately to say.

1. It's not all math, don't worry

While so many people tend to think that economics is all math and no fun, I beg to differ. As I mentioned above, it is the "study of the behavior of people in the market," so while it is equations and statistics, it is also observing how people treat prices and products.

2. It's not difficult to understand

I don't understand why parents think that if you're majoring in econ, you're pretty much signing up to fail all your courses. If they actually took the course, they would understand that it isn't the economic theory you need to understand, but how people react to changes in the stock market.

3. Majoring in econ isn't the same thing as majoring in business

When I tell people I'm an econ major, they immediately say, "Oh, business?" And then I squeeze the urge to yell in their face that I said "ECON, ECON, NOT BUSINESS." Then they continue to say they know someone that majors in business, and then ask if I know the person. The annoyances then continue. Econ is the study of markets. Business is the study of being an entrepreneur. Totally two different things. Yes, they are co-dependent, but they are not the SAME thing.

4. Please don't rely on me to do your taxes or calculate tips at a restaurant

I hate it when everyone just stares at me when the check comes. I regret telling people I'm an econ major at that point. Because I don't know how to tell them I don't learn how to do taxes or calculate tips in class, that's what finance majors do. AGAIN, not the same thing.

5. I know most of us are Asian, but don't be racist

Don't come up to me, ask me what my major is, and automatically assume that I'm an international student. It really sucks. I have to then correct them and say I'm not, and then have them walk away.

6. One of the prime motives is because we want to learn game theory

How we play games is vital to econ majors, and it does involve heavy readings of game theory books.

7. We mostly won't do econ during grad school

Because grad school is a time where we want to actually exercise our skills, it isn't a time to dawdle and major in the same things as we did in undergrad. We're actually adults by then, and we most likely will resort to marketing, sales, or advertising agencies. At least I want to work at Instagram HQ someday.

8. Our classes never have curves

Finals season is always tough on us because it just means we gotta put in three times as much work to memorize formulas, theories, and math terms. Have mercy on our souls. Most professors aren't even nice enough to bring up our grades or give us extra credit.

9. The TAs are too busy with work to help us

Even they understand econ isn't a breeze, and as TAs, they can't really explain stuff to us that they don't understand either. In fact, most of the stuff we learn in class are self-taught, usually late nights with Starbucks coffee.

10.  We actually hate business majors

Because they have it easy. And they don't need math. Everything they do is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Not gonna lie, I love being an econ major. But some cons can be too much and it does teach me not to do econ in grad. One thing is for certain though, I love what I do and I don't regret choosing it.

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