UB needs some perspective.
Spring signifies a renewal of life from the darkness of winter. But as the seasons change, it offers a time for reflection on what has occurred and what is to come.
Many times this year, the university has been in a state of ambiguity in regard to its future. The administration has lobbied for the UB 2020 plan to revolutionize the institution for the coming decades by adding new space, shifting entire departments downtown and adding almost 20,000 new students.
But as the year has progressed, the plan is delayed and stalled. Funding has dried up. The biggest problem here at UB isn't what it lacks as a first-class research college, but rather the lack of focus on the current student population.
Departments have disappeared and professors have been asked to leave.
Money is the obvious answer, but it seems that the administration doesn't understand the immediate ramifications of its actions. Students need those classes for requirements or majors.
Further, when professors aren't allowed to teach classes due to pay issues, something is wrong. Ask any college student – when a class is taught by a professor rather then a graduate student, students achieve higher marks, the reason being that better teachers actually inspire students.
Gaffes occurred; for example, the university pulled financial aid for some 2000 Educational Opportunity Program students. Most of these students are the first college students in their families.
But it isn't all negative. For one thing, UB will now have the ability to determine the level of tuition paid by its students. The shift will allow the university to better provide for incoming students to maintain the services it provides to the student population.
It would be remiss to leave out the students. If the student body needs something, it should become active. Bring it to the attention of the Student Association; after all, this past SA election was about getting back to its roots which is advocating for the students.
The time of apathy is over, whether students realize it or not. Fight for what is needed to make this university better. Who knows what that is better than actual students?
This university is and has the ability to be a tremendous place – a haven for the community to learn and experience new things. Don't sell it short by focusing solely on the future.
UB 2020 may accomplish these goals, but the plan has been derailed. And maybe that will allow UB to get back to its roots. The minor details are things that usually have the lasting impression – the fantastic professor rather than the nice building the class took place in.
UB is changing, whether the community likes it or not. But the opportunity to have a stake in that change is still present. The big issues – tuition, financial aid, or better libraries – need to be addressed.
The future is now.