After reading Issue 21 of The Sandspur, I left feeling disturbed and concerned, and it was not because of the “Illegal Citizens” article. Rather, it was from another article, “Organizations Suffer Ill-Fated Loss.” This article explained the recent decision of budget cuts to Office of Student Involvement and Leadership organizations like All Campus Events (ACE), Residence Hall Association (RHA), WPRK, R-TV and The Sandspur. Ironically, according to Julia Campbell’s article, the cuts are being made due to retention issues, and “lower-than-expected enrollment left the school with fewer-than-expected dollars.” I find a huge problem with this decision then: if the school is suffering from a retention problem, why cut funding from the programs that would help students feel at home at Rollins?
Academics are only one of the many factors that determine a good college. A well-rounded college has a close-knit community that offers students opportunities to bond with others and grow as individuals. Rollins offers free immersion trips throughout the year that let students discover other cultures and issues facing our world. Will we see less of these trips next year?
Employers and graduate schools want to see real world experience on applicants’ resumes, and for those interested in communications and business media like The Sandspur, WPRK and R-TV provide those opportunities. In the past, WPRK’s directorial staff went on subsidized trips to music festivals, but this year no one was aided to attend SXSW or mtvU’s Woodie Awards, even though WPRK was nominated for an award. WPRK’s studio carries outdated technology, but with these budget cuts it seems doubtful it will receive an upgrade anytime soon, causing it to fall behind in the radio industry. The same can be said for The Sandspur and R-TV offices, which also could use a technology upgrade. As of now writers and photographers get paid for their hard work in The Sandspur, but could this change with the budget cuts?
Karen Hater, dean of Student Affairs, wants to stress that other departments and programs are also reducing their budgets. “Budget reductions are being made across campus departments and areas,” she said. “Some departments have larger budgets than others so it was necessary for those departments to contribute a larger amount than some of the other smaller departments. The offices of Student Involvement and Leadership (responsible for ACE, R-TV, WPRK, The Sandspur, student organizations, Fraternity and Sorority Life) and Residential Life (responsible for RHA) are two departments that have larger budgets and are contributing larger amounts to the Student Affairs budget reduction.”
I understand that in rough economic times tough decisions must be made, I just hope that those in charge of finances realize the importance of a student’s experience outside of the classroom and only make the most necessary cuts to these beneficial programs.