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The Columbia Chronicle

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Editorial: Columbia is not transparent with students

Editorial%3A+Columbia+is+not+transparent+with+students

We get it.

The college is in serious financial trouble.

The administration announced in Spring 2023 that it had a $20 million deficit that needed to close by 2026.

The college has since told faculty and staff of its plans to increase class sizes, lower enrollment targets and review programs.

Faculty Senate President Madhurima Chakraborty told the Chronicle last week that the college is being more transparent, even if the news is bad.

But the college is not being transparent with students.

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim and other members of the administration are holding three forums in the coming months.

Students are allowed to attend these discussions, Chief of Staff Laurent Pernot told the Chronicle, and a separate one is being planned just for students.

“A students-only meeting with President Kim and his leadership team is being planned for the fall semester through the Student Government Association, with details to be announced soon,” he said.

The college wants to increase first-year enrollment and improve student retention but is not making students feel that their voices are being heard.

It does not help when the college cuts services or hours of facilities without student input – or explanation.

Recently, the Fabrication Facility cut its hours. It used to be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, but now those hours apply to two days of the week. Students are petitioning against this change.

Some students have class schedules that may conflict with the new hours. Commuter students have less time to access the facility, and student workers are getting their hours cut.

Since many of the changes the college is implementing to address the financial problems concern students, we wish that the students were more centered in the discussions.

While we may not ultimately like being in bigger classes or having less access to facilities and labs, even as our tuition goes up, it would be nice to hear directly from the college about the reasons and to know that someone is at least listening to our concerns.

If the school’s goal is retention, they will need to take care of students, and the first step is to be honest with us.

 

This editorial has been corrected. 

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