Academics need to be valued in budget cuts

By: Luke Byerly ~Managing Editor~

When a University makes budget cuts, students and faculty expect to see new changes in a different area that justify the cuts in the first place. You expect to see newly renovated study spaces, more money for clubs to expand or a new sports center to replace the current, antique building.

These alternative targets for funding seem to go along with Xavier’s mission statement, “to educate each student intellectually, morally, and spiritually.” However certain budget cuts have violated this mission statement in the past few years.

The budget cuts made to the McDonald Library and the databases that the library purchases violate the Xavier’s mission statement’s integrity. By limiting the number of sources that I can directly access regarding topics concerning science, classics, theology, ethics and other academic topics, the university is limiting the amount of knowledge that I have access to and thereby reducing the quality of my education.

1While a Pizza ATM seems like a great addition to Xavier’s campus, it doesn’t benefit my education intellectually, morally or spiritually. The media did a great job of giving Xavier new press, however the press forgot to report how the Pizza ATM would give back to the mission statement of the university, student education.

How does the Pizza ATM, situated in a dorm that I don’t frequently go in benefit me and the education that I’ve paid thousands of dollars for? This may sound like a selfish argument, but the fact of the matter is that students and faculty have all been robbed.

How can students produce meaningful, academic work without proper resources? Moreover, how can professors expect students to produce meaningful, academic work without proper resources?

One year ago, I had full access to most of the articles that I used to write a paper for my Homeric Greek class. Now I have direct access to half of those articles resulting in seven subsequent requests through Xavier’s Iliad article request system. If I’m having trouble as an undergraduate accessing the necessary articles for a senior thesis, I shudder to think about how the professors are expected to produce academic works of their own.

The case might be different if there were other developments to compensate for the extensive library cuts, however over the summer it seems that the only changes in the last year are improvements for Gallagher Student Center and the installation of the Pizza ATM. While more club space is nice to have, the priority of any credible university should be the intellectual and academic advancement of both the students and the fields of study. Neither of these new changes advance that goal. More alarming, however is the issue underlying the decision to cut the library’s budget.

The library’s budget cuts only further illustrate a disconnect between Xavier students and faculty from the administration. While a large library budget makes more sense for the progression of academic achievement, it doesn’t quite draw in attention like a self-serving pizza machine does. It’s a nice recruitment move.

Luke Byerly is a senior HAB major and managing editor for the Newswire from Cincinnati.

However at what point does injury to the academics of a university for administrative purposes violate the mission statement? At what point are faculty and students allowed to be heard by the administration?

For the administration to act as if the library cuts are not contrary to the Xavier mission statement is a violation of student and faculty agreement. When I chose to attend Xavier, I assumed and expected that the quality of education that I would receive would remain the same over the course of my four years. I pay my tuition in a timely manner and agreed upon amount as a result of that agreement. For the administration to damage the quality of each student’s education and expect the student to pay increasing tuition rates as a result is the equivalent of a student refusing to pay full tuition rates each year and expecting higher quality education.

As a student working on his senior thesis, the challenge to produce an original thesis and defend it becomes incredibly daunting as the amount of readily attainable source material decreases. If the university expects us to produce academic works with a decreased pool of resources then they must also be able to accept work of lesser quality. Nothing can readily compensate for a deficit of academic resources.