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Monday, May 17, 2021

Frontline: Western’s greedy business hurts students

Western is a business. In order to run a good business, costs must be low and profits must be high. Western’s sure-fire way to ensure profit is through students’ tuition. In that case, it’s no wonder student enrollment reaches a new all-time high every fall quarter.

There were 15,332 students enrolled as of fall 2015. Although Western continues to grow, the resources provided to students continues to fall flat.

The Associated Students Child Development Center struggles with the limited space it is provided. Students and faculty want to utilize the center, but the center can only accommodate 59 children. There are 123 children on the waitlist.

The center has the same amount of space available  since it opened in 1971, when enrollment was under 5,000.

The need for campus resources grows in accordance with enrollment, yet no change is being made.

This problem transcends the daycare center.

On-campus parking is a problem on everyone’s mind, students and faculty alike. Parking passes are oversold annually, and finding a spot after 10 a.m. is near impossible. This comes down to space. Campus is only so big, and only a set amount of students can realistically claim a parking space.

Western has taken steps to alleviate this issue by providing bus passes and the Lincoln Creek Park & Ride. This, however, forces students to be reliant on the bus system which is gaining its own reputation for being unreliable.

If Western continues to push for increased enrollment every year, the administration needs to make sure students have the basic ability of getting to campus.

But then again, Western doesn’t do much to make sure students can even get into the classes they need to graduate.

Students, especially in STEM programs, are having to deal with bottleneck classes which prevent them from registering for the classes needed to graduate on time. There are too many students in the major and not enough classes. Students are instead left waiting around, while still taking classes not necessarily needed — still giving Western the tuition money it wants, even if it comes at the expense of students’ success.

Student well-being is also neglected. Western’s on-campus Counseling Center doesn’t meet the national student-to-counselor ratio recommendation. Due to underfunding, the Counseling Center’s resources are limited even though the demand is higher than ever.

These resources are included in tuition. Students should have access to them.

There is nothing wrong with expanding our university. The problems lie behind the motivations. Western is a business, first and foremost. The goal of expanding is to further its profits. To keep costs low, the administration aims to spend as little as possible. But if Western can’t provide tangible resources for its students, more students shouldn’t be admitted. The problem will only get worse.

Until the needs of current students are prioritized, Western needs to put a cap on enrollment. Students shouldn’t have to sacrifice necessary resources just so Western can save a buck.

1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting ideas, damaged by the sloppy wording. Western is not a business and does not make profits. Western is a state institution and is (poorly) funded by the State of Washington to the tune of $52.0 million dollars. While your complaints are valid, your leading facts and headline are incorrect. Good luck in your next story.

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