The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Where has all the money gone?

OP/ED
 Where has all the money gone?
Where has all the money gone?

Where has all the money gone?

Let’s talk about money … how about your money? Infact, let me share my little “Woodward and Bernstein”experience with you. The story goes like this: this past springbreak, I participated in my second Alternative Spring Breaktrip.

For those of you who are unaware, ASB is a student-run programfound in universities all across the country. Instead of takingyour typical wild Cancun vacation (which is good, always good),students spend the week working with non-profit organizationstoward different community service projects. In the process,students learn first-hand about pressing social, political andenvironmental issues, and inevitably develop their teamwork andleadership skills. Needless to say, it’s a remarkableexperience.

However, this conversation is about money. Like most otherstudent organizations, ASB receives funding from Student Senate.This year’s ASB was able to send 50 people to five differentlocations thanks to the $9,000 that Senate provided. So, as budgetswere turned in to the Appropriations Committee for next year, ASBrequested $13,000. I regret to say that Senate only allocated ASB$2,500. With that budget, ASB will be lucky to even send one groupof students next spring.

This incident got me to thinking … why is it that studentprograms are crashing down all over the place? First our track teamdisappears, now ASB might not survive? This is obviously afinancial issue (President Turner has said so himself), but how canwe possibly explain this when tuition and student fees areincreasing exorbitantly? When I came in as a freshman, tuition was$9,810 a semester. Next fall, classes will cost us $11,248 persemester. And don’t forget general student fees. They havegone up, too — over $300 dollars — and will now be$1,431 per semester. That’s $2,862 coming from everyfull-time student each year. Why is it then, that large groups likeWesley, for example, are receiving $0 from Student Senate?

Here’s where my exciting, journalisticdetecting-bureaucratic-no-no’s-undercover work comes intoplay. In speaking with Student Senate I learned that of the $2,862yearly fees, only $53 is allocated to Student Senate. That’sridiculous! Yet it perfectly explains why Senate is having such ahard time “spreading the wealth” -— or lack of.In a school that prides itself on having over 140 student groups onits campus, how can we conceive of them sharing a $525,000 budget?Especially if you consider that one program alone, Main Event,guzzles up $76,000 of that budget. Shouldn’t we, as students,be curious about where our other $2,809 go? It’s not parking,clearly, because we pay dearly for that, too. I understand some ofthat money goes to the Health Center, but what else … ?

Since my arrival here in 2000, I have seen six buildings built.Granted, the football stadium was already done when I arrived, butI went to its inauguration. Then there is the Meadows Museum, theDedman Life Science building, the parking garage behind it, theLaura Lee Blanton Building and the Jerry Junkins Building. To topit off, we’re building two more enormous additions to SMU:the James M. Collins Executive Education Center and a new Dedmanexercise facility. All I can say is “Wow!” —someone is a bit building-happy. I don’t think I’veseen that much construction in the entire city of Dallas! (Alright,slight exaggeration) But really, I’m beginning to see a trendhere. SMU is a beautiful campus. It’s stunning. However, Ididn’t decide to undergo extreme debt to pay for a collegethat I like to look at. I am more concerned with the academicquality and extracurricular activities that SMU provides mewith.

I’m sure you all saw the beautiful tulips that wereplanted outside Fondren Library two weeks ago. If you didn’t,I’m sorry you can’t anymore … they lasted aweek. They definitely brightened the campus, but was this really anexpense SMU needed to invest in? How can we justify this? Tell thetrack folk, “I’m sorry, you may be going to theOlympics this summer, but we need to get rid of you in order tomake our campus pretty.”

Lastly, let me leave you with this upbeat thought: whendiscussing the budget with Student Senate, I was informed thatstudent funds are limited because the higher-ups of the SMU ladderbelieve that we students “are irresponsible withmoney.” Well my goodness, if the university can’t trustus with our own money, how do they explain our paying for thishigher education? And furthermore, what kind of education must webe getting that we don’t even know how to properly distributeour money? Unfortunately, this person had to remain anonymous, butI speak the honest truth.

SMU has the resources to offer its students so much. I’llbe the first to admit that in any given week, I can never attendall the events I would like to. However, I love being able to walkinto the student center and try Indian food or learn to bellydance. I love attending our distinguished Tate lectures or wacky,mind-boggling philosophy discussions. I love being able to seeindependent films for free during the French and Student FilmFestivals or learn about the mechanics of a spinning wheel and thebeautiful sound of the dulcimer at the Medieval Fair. These are thethings that enhance my education. It’s through these types ofstudent programs that we create well-informed citizens, culturalawareness and community.

It would seem to me that SMU, in wanting to provide its studentswith the best education possible, should be the first to encouragestudent initiative, both through moral and financial support.

What do you think?

 

Marietta Synodis is a senior International Studies and Frenchmajor. She can be reached at [email protected].

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