I understand that Missouri Western is in the middle of a financial crisis, and because of that, drastic cuts and changes are a necessity.
A majority of the changes that have taken place on our campus have not been with the benefit of the student in mind. Many of the students I have talked to don’t find interest or advantage in the addition of the eSports program or adding a lacrosse team. There are other changes the institution could make that serve the benefit of their students as well as the greater St. Joseph community.
The changes that have personally affected me and my education at Missouri Western are as follows: the removal of the printing shop; a downgrade in the institutional subscription to Adobe services; and the article request fee being implemented this coming week at the university’s library.
All of these changes are minor in context to other changes that are happening on our campus, but knowing that the budget for these items is aiding the addition of programs that our general student body finds no benefit in is incredibly frustrating. Not to mention that these changes were made without any consultation or consideration of the faculty or student body in the middle of an academic year.
Losing the printing shop has put all student organizations and other campus affiliations in an unreasonable inconvenience. Our organizations are no longer able to print on campus, causing students to outsource their printing needs or go without. This, in turn, affects the ability of our organizations to canvas for upcoming events. With students in the dark about events, these events are poorly attended. Low attendance causes poor atmosphere and morale. For students that are needing specialty prints for assignments, they have to outsource their printing needs.
For commuting students, this creates an additional stop to their route. For students that live on campus (some of which don’t own a vehicle), outsourced printing leaves them spending money on transportation and creating additional space in their schedule to run an errand to pick up their print. I understand the desire to cut costs by reducing printing — and also how this is an environmentally-conscious decision — but to entirely remove the printing office from the campus has imposed inconvenience and frustration on the behalf of a large population at Missouri Western.
Downgrading the institutional subscription to Adobe was an inconsiderate move. In the Communication & Journalism Department, there are specific courses that rely on the Adobe office. By making this transition in the middle of an academic year without consulting the students or the faculty has left students scrambling. In this change, the students have lost access to most Adobe fonts.
Typography is an entire unit of study in our design courses. By limiting our students’ access, this, in turn, limits their ability to fully exercise what they’re studying. This has also affected our student media. Our publications have lost fonts that were purchased with money from our media budgets, leaving the media in a deficit.
Faculty was notified today that all requests for journal articles from the university library will come with an additional request fee of $4.00 starting Monday, February 24. Being in a research-intensive class, this is appalling and frustrating. My classmates and I are disappointed in our institution. This is highly pertinent to all students, but disproportionately affects students that are in research-heavy classes that need access to these articles for literature reviews, essays, and other research-intensive assignments.
There has been a general decline in concern for student wants or needs. The students’ needs should be the priority at Missouri Western. However, it feels like our institution is taking advantage of the fact that we’re pursuing our education by reallocating our tuition dollars toward programs that don’t benefit our students.
I’m a little too overwhelmed at the moment to collect my thoughts for a solution, but could I propose an agriculture program?
This would be beneficial far beyond the walls of Missouri Western. St. Joseph and the surrounding area is full of agriculturally related businesses. Tyson, Shatto, the American Angus Association, MFA Oil, not to mention the collaboration with a local Missouri University extension office in Buchanan county.
We have everything in our community that we would need to establish a successful agriculture program. Not only are we depriving our students of their needs, but we’re also preventing our community from flourishing by local means. These are just a few things to keep in mind.