The Editorial board has heard a lot of griping about the upcoming spring concert, and most of it is valid and warranted.
Many of our peers, ourselves included, have complained about not knowing the band, not caring about the genre of music, not wanting to spend an evening cooped up in McAfee and of course just not wanting to go because it was not the act that someone voted for in the survey.
But, though most of us agree with the complaints and see the trends on campus, there is one thing we don’t agree with, which is uncommon for us.
The University Board is not entirely at fault for this.
Although we do think that the concert could have been announced sooner and advertised more on campus, for the most part this concert and the issues arising from it isn’t a University Board problem; it’s a university problem and state problem.
There just aren’t enough students on campus to support a bigger budget for UB and consequently a bigger name in music, and the state is not offering the same amount of funding as it once was to help the university.
Yesterday when speaking with Mariah Marlar, the chair of UB, she mentioned that when enrollment dropped, so did UB’s budget and budgets across campus.
We all saw this coming the minute the state stopped funding higher education and Eastern went down the road toward “vitalization,” if that’s what you want to call it.
Conveniently enough, when the state decided higher education wasn’t much of an investment, our enrollment dropped significantly.
We’re not going to sugar coat this. The incoming class for 2016 could only form the “E” in the EIU class picture taken during the first weekend on campus. Go see for yourself; it’s hanging in the union.
And it didn’t get better over a year; it got worse. But, we’re not talking about what happened over the course of those two years; we’re talking about UB.
See, the Apportionment Board approves UB’s budget every year.
And that budget is funded by student fees, which come from students who take classes on campus. Student fees are charged per credit hour, so the more students taking classes on campus, the more student fee money there is (that’s in a nut shell).
UB only has so much to spend on an artist, and there still aren’t enough students taking classes on campus and thus paying student fees.
The administration has already admitted that even though the freshman enrollment has increased this year, it is still not enough to offset the number of people leaving the university.
Then what’s the solution? Hope we get there eventually?
There are a lot of factors that go into boosting enrollment such as receiving state appropriations and marketing the university to even renovating the campus to make it more desirable (which, is also only possible if we get money from the state).
But there is something current students can do.
Go to the concert.
If people don’t show up then there aren’t going to be any more concerts in the future, and before you say that’s a good thing, think about what could happen when more students are on campus and have nothing to do.
Ultimately though, this isn’t a UB problem and this isn’t a current student problem.
This is an enrollment problem. This is a university problem. So until we start bringing more students to campus, not just dual credit students or online students but actual human beings walking on campus, we won’t see significant changes.