Truman State University is yet again facing issues with funding and looking at ways to shed costs. Most of these budget concerns, however, come from the falling enrollment. With the University expecting even fewer students next year, there will likely be a $3 million difference in what is generated from tuition in addition to the growing costs of faculty retirement plans.
These looming concerns, among others, were presented at the State of the University address on Tuesday by President Sue Thomas to a room filled largely with faculty and staff. The address covered multiple topics, including budget and enrollment trends, the strategic plan and the University’s need to prioritize, all of which affect campus and student life as a whole.
We, The Index Editorial Board, find it disheartening to attend meetings of such importance and be some of just a few students in the room. It is to the benefit of the student body to be informed on the major issues facing Truman and critically think about how those issues affect this institution and the education it provides. As students, we should be invested in the University and how its decisions are made because its effects have the most impact on us.
There are so many governing bodies at Truman that hold open meetings for students to attend, from the Board of Governors to Student Government. Students should be attending Faculty Senate and Undergraduate Council meetings, where faculty discuss the curriculum and how to improve the education provided at Truman. They ought to be attending the open forums hosted by the Student Affairs Office or the Union & Involvement Services, which help determine how to make student life on campus more enriching. Students need to be attending the State of the University address, where the president talks about the major issues of the year and their effect on the University as a whole.
Students ought to take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about Truman and the place they call home. While ignorance is bliss, it is also dangerous when so many changes are taking place. Everyone, even students, should be invested in the goodwill of the University. As the University continues to try to generate creative solutions to these growing issues, students should be concerned, too. Afterall, those solutions have the most impact on us.
There is, however, a caveat to this charge. With the exception of the State of the University address, most of these meetings and forums are poorly advertised, making it hard for students to know to attend them. Additionally, students expressing their opinions and experiences need to be heard by Truman faculty, staff and administration. If students don’t feel respected or like their voice matters then there is no point in attending.
While students should make a larger effort to be more informed, Truman administration, faculty and staff should also make a larger effort to include students and their perspective.
So whether you’re passionate about making student life more fulfilling, invested in the development of the new curriculum or are confused about the condition the University is in, go to the meetings.