Sep 212009
Authors: Kate Belford

Congratulations, CSU on attaining record enrollment this semester. While this is certainly a laudable accomplishment on the part of the admissions office, I do have a few specific concerns.

We’ve managed to enroll more students — great! It’s hard to take issue with more young people pursuing a higher level of education.

How, though, is the university making accommodations for these new young freshman? Are more resources being allocated for scholarships, classroom space and instructors? If I recall my freshman year correctly, there was extremely limited space to sit in crowded lecture halls (especially on test days) and I didn’t know most of my instructors’ names — much less know them on a personal level.

That was three years ago, the economy was not yet fledgling, and our enrollment numbers were lower than they are now. We’ve got a larger student body, we’re building a shiny new athletic practice facility and we have fancy new statues outside of a few buildings.

The university looks reasonably good on paper, but is there really any substance behind this? How is CSU planning to support all of these new students through graduation? Is our budget based on the assumption that half of these students will drop out after their first (and cheapest, on the university’s part) year?

If so, we are missing the point of higher education to a disturbing degree. My main concern is that CSU is becoming more of a business and less of a student-centric institution.

Where are your priorities, CSU? Are administrative decisions made based on the interests of students or the interests of wealthy donors who fund athletic practice facilities?

Are we creating new, high-salary, positions such as that of the chancellor because the position is important to advancing student interests, or because said chancellor has been a member of the Board of Governors, the most secretive and inside circle of CSU, for a number of years?

I understand that the university is struggling to find funding and, accordingly, must grab it from any available sources. But please, CSU, don’t lose sight of the point of all of this.

It is about students. It is not about research money, high administrative salaries or strategic partnerships with corporations and wealthy people. If the administration insists on continuing to operate as a business, I insist that it be more transparent to its stakeholders.

As a student and potential future donor to this CSU corporation, I would like an explanation for some of the bigger and more consequential funding decisions the university makes, as well as its plans for accommodating the new students it seeks and its plan for increasing graduation rates.

In the meantime, let’s focus on supporting the students and instructors that are already here.

Kate Belford is a senior political science and communication studies major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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