We can work it out. We can work it out.
The administration sings a different song lately. After weeks of student discontent over new and ever-increasing financial obligations, SLU's money-handlers have decided to talk things out the old-fashioned way.
This past Tuesday, Parks students got the long-deserved opportunity to talk with the administration about their concerns regarding the recent installment of $3,500-per-year flight fees at a Parks town hall meeting. Dean Bjong Wolf Yeigh showed up, as did Parks senators Joe Cirillo and Joey Bloodworth and an assemblage of angry, disappointed and worried SLU students. They didn't really work anything out-yet. Though, finally, they began a discourse to that end.
A lack of communication caused the present discontent in the first place. Students are furious that they could not partake in a discussion of the flight fees before they became mandate. Cirillo claims that he was promised a student and faculty meeting to discuss the fees after they surfaced as rumors-it never happened. Out of the blue, Parks pilots received a formal e-mail that they would be expected to pay the additional $3,500 every year until graduation.
Hesitant congratulations to the administration for finally conversing with their students. The conversation should have begun sooner. But-better late than never.
Money is a sensitive issue. It causes fights, even incites war. When handed a bill, of course students will be upset. Anyone would.
Obviously, the University needs to pay its bills. The University has a business to run and a slew of programs to maintain. Price increases, though never well received, are sometimes necessary; they only need to be better presented.
If the administration discussed with students the need to start charging flight fees before making a decision, students might have handled the new costs with more aplomb. In advance, students would have been presented reasons-operating costs are increasing, areas of the program need improvement. They would have known of the other options-one, to completely drop flight. They could have weighed in on the discussion. Now, without any part in the decision, students will have to accept heavy consequences.
The University exists as a center of research. That's what universities do-they seek to develop knowledge. Too bad SLU's administration didn't seek to know the opinions of their students.
But they have recently made effort. And while some students will be frustrated about any decision-no matter how (or if) it is discussed with them-the administration would do well to continue an open discourse.
Try to see it my way-an open discourse allows the only opportunity to find and establish that harmony.