The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Editorial: Feb. 8

With cuts to the operational budget affecting the university again this fiscal year, department chairs had to make some tough decisions about how to decrease their spending from previous years. It is admirable that many of these decisions have been made to ensure that students’ overall educational experiences are not harmed. In some cases, faculty have made sacrifices to their own scholarly endeavors in order to save students’ endeavors or they’ve used their own money to provide for students what the university cannot. 

This dedication by faculty to make sure students’ time at St. Joe’s is not diminished by budget cuts is mostly unknown and unrecognized. This is due to the fact that the budget cuts themselves have not been publicly acknowledged by the university, with officials instead offering vague answers and suggesting that the entire process is too complicated for us to understand.

What we do understand is that we are owed answers. As paying customers for our education, we should be informed about the parameters of allocating certain budgets to specific departments and the process of deciding what budgets get cut; we should have a say in how our money funds the future of the university. And the faculty who are managing these budgets should also get the information they need about what is going on, and why. 

We also understand that universities need to be frugal, especially at a time when higher education is facing a lot of uncertainty and financial challenges as a whole. But we deserve transparency about that frugality. We also deserve transparency about the cause for the university to make cuts. If the cause is due to enrollment, as some have suggested, what is the plan for addressing under-enrollment? 

If individuals are responsible, have they been held accountable? Without clear answers from the university, we are left guessing if the cuts are due to the merger, enrollment, a changing higher education system or something else.

Finally, the university should publicly acknowledge the tough decisions that department chairs are facing and thank them for aiming to lessen the impact of the budget cuts on students’ experiences. There are certainly ways in which students’ experiences are impacted when departments get less funding, even if the chairs are trying to soften that impact and even if the university’s silence attempts to suggest otherwise.

We hope, going forward, the university can answer fair questions about the state of the university’s operational affairs. If university officials are to be trusted to handle such a complex process, then they need to prove it and trust us to handle that information. 

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