I think that everyone at this school has, at one time or another, uttered “I pay $40,000 a year for this school. Where is this money going?” I had to ask this question again when I was sitting in a computer science class in one of our swanky new Media and Public Affairs classrooms. My professor started the class off with, “Well, I was hoping to use Respondex (the interactive wireless question/answer system in many classrooms) in class today, but I was informed by Classroom Technology Services that they didn’t have the budget to teach faculty how to use it.”
Does this not seem frightening to anyone? We have all heard the “budget” excuse. There is not a large enough budget to allow for free printing any more. There is not a large enough budget to have an email system that works reliably. There is not a large enough budget for preventative maintenance in dorms (in International House the elevators break once a week, sometimes a ceiling collapses and my air conditioner has been replaced twice as has my roommate’s bed). J Street must have no budget to be charging what it does for food ($10 for a Styrofoam plate of Chinese food? Well lucky me with my tax-free meal-points, I am getting such a deal.).
The humor and sarcasm stops and reality sets in, however, when these “budget” issues directly affect our education. When classes we need to take are repeatedly full (I was going to be a Spanish minor, but could not get into Spanish for three semesters). When faculty is denied instruction for teaching aids already installed in our classrooms, there is a serious problem. The administration needs to be asking the same question – where is all this money going? – and realize the money that we spend here is in the name of an education that will carry us through life.