What does a deficit mean for student experience?


The Collegian

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The recent news of the budget deficit for the 2022-2023 academic year has rocked the campus of Ashland University.

After AU President Dr. Carlos Campo revealed the true deficit, those faculty and staff members in attendance felt the rug pull from under them. Faculty and staff reductions were planned to be made, with specifications undetermined.

The news of budget cuts forcing the drop of 20 or so potential faculty and staff members is jarring on its own–the lack of transparent details is alarming.

In journalism, details are vital, anchoring the facts in solid truth. The most basic style of journalistic writing is the inverted pyramid, a style that features details that can be trimmed at the bottom when space is limited.

The faculty and staff of Ashland University are walking on thin ice, as if they are the unnecessary details to be trimmed from the story and Campo seems to be holding the scissors.

It seems the university has rebranded away from the “Accent on the Individual,” opting for the “We See You” tagline as expressed on the website’s redesign. But who is “we”, and what do we see?

It is not an easy decision to make, I, as a mere student, certainly cannot imagine. But I, as an AU student, see it trickling down, much like high fashion inevitably trickles down into a mass market clearance bin.

Students are often unaware of how a budget could affect them and their experiences in college–a fault could be the invincible feeling that comes with adolescence. But transparency, or lack thereof, certainly has an effect on that awareness.

When writing this, I learned that some students had no clue about a budget deficit in the first place. Some students were confused to see that some of their classes had been canceled days before the semester started due to low enrollment.

All decision-making of a university should be made out of the best interest of the university, of the faculty and ultimately of the students, for whom the university is meant to nurture, support and cultivate.

To include students in this process is a tall order, but to gatekeep them from this knowledge seems cruel and misleading coming from an administrative body.

It’s as if the university wants to remove our brainstems, and neglect to remind us to breathe.

I feel frustrated on behalf of the faculty. I feel frustrated on behalf of the staff. And I feel frustrated with my university.

I do not know what to think anymore, because I attend a university that was meant to teach me how to think, not what to think.