Do not repeat the mistakes of last year

Staff Report

While we never like to hyperbolize in the newsroom, there is a chance we would not be exaggerating when we say the university has been through hell and back these past few years.

Eastern has taken so many hits, whether it is through low enrollment, the budget crisis, potential program deletions — and some of these happening at the same time to boot.

It is at around this time last year that Glassman announced the vitalization project during his State of the University speech, like the one he is set to give on Thursday.

While the vitalization project brought some good changes like some improvements in the facilities, including fixing the bathrooms in Coleman Hall, it also led to the elimination of the Africana Studies major. It is still a minor and general education courses can still be offered; however, the university has lost a program that affirmed its commitment to diversity and offered a chance for students of color to more firmly seem themselves represented in our curriculum. It is a shame this step was taken. We will never know how many students who wanted the chance to study Africana Studies at Eastern will not get to. This could also have been a chance for us to offer something other schools might not have, especially as Western also eliminated their Africana Studies program before Eastern did.

Also lost during the vitalization project is the university’s sense of morale. This project had many running around wondering what their program or department would look like when the project ended, or if it would still be there at all.

It put programs through the wringer, with them feeling like they had to prove their worth in order to survive. People were on edge for a year, waiting to see how everything worked out— if they would still have their job or their livelihood. Secretive workgroups using data people did not trust did not make this any better. Whether this data was reliable or not, the fact so many people did not trust the information the workgroups were working with did not make for a productive system.

While ‘vitalization’ sounds great in theory, it led to another year of uncertainty and fear for many on this campus. It was a year filled with countless meetings, another no-confidence vote and a divided university.

Now, it is a new year. And with it, comes another speech from the president outlining his vision and the State of the University.

Between the vitalization project and the budget impasse, it is more important than ever a sense of stability and hope is brought to Eastern.

Could that come from the president’s State of the University Speech tomorrow? Are there any other projects or that will be announced? That remains to be seen.

What we do know is that Glassman will talk about the upcoming FY18 budget, and the “Pathway to Success” he has planned for future marketing.

He is also set to give an update on current vitalization initiatives. According to Thursday’s article of The Daily Eastern News, there will be talk of moving forward, including other strategic investments the administration has made.

With a budget and marketing initiatives in place, we are tentatively hopeful for this university. We know the students and staff have a resiliency found almost nowhere else- we could and would not have survived this storm had we not. And of course, forward is the only direction we can go.

Here’s to hoping the administration will be more transparent and avoid the mistakes it made during the vitalization project.

Here’s to hoping we all have the strength to hold it accountable if it does not.

And most of all, here’s to hoping for a better year.