Submitted by Kyle Pace
Where do the priorities of UAA truly lie? I have been to three different prioritization meetings since last week and I don’t seem to be any closer to finding an answer to this question. Each time I listen to the Chancellor’s cabinet tell a similar story to new faces, and while that story sounds good I don’t think it is really reflective of the behind-the-scenes reality. I have heard faculty ask difficult questions about whether or not their programs were going to be cut, I have heard parents want to know whether or not their young children are going to have a future on campus, and I have listened to students wondering whether or not sustainable UAA is part of our campuses future. Every answer I have heard seems to be very general and lacking any specifics and it seems to me that those in charge do not have any concrete ideas about the future.
So where do the priorities of UAA lie? Do they lie in investing money into the small number of athletes on campus? With a brand new stadium and major improvements to the hockey teams locker rooms this looks likely. Do the priorities lie simply in the science and engineering programs? With a brand new Engineering Building and very little money to run it I wonder what the future of the humanities are on campus? Or maybe the future of UAA is a sustainable one in which we bring more local foods, renewable energy, and recycling to campus.
I think when all is said and done the big problem is communication. I am forced to speculate over the future of our campus because I simply do not know what is going on in the minds of those who will be making these decisions. It is very frustrating to be stuck in a state of limbo where nothing is certain. The only thing I know for sure right now is that we need to find a way to open lines of communication between the ones making the big decisions and the ones affected by those decisions. Transparency and communication every step of the way is key to creating a healthy atmosphere on campus during these uncertain times. I don’t expect those in charge to have all the answers but I would much rather hear them say “We just don’t know right now but we’re working on it, and here’s how you can talk to us about it” rather than hear the same form of answers time and time again.