Editorial: Loyola must learn to anticipate problems
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 14:10
On Friday, Oct. 5, Fr. Wildes issued an email to faculty and staff informing them of general budget cuts across the board due to a smaller freshman class than was planned for — approximately 870 students instead of the anticipated 900 — as well as fewer graduate students. We at the Maroon applaud the university for pursuing budget cuts rather than resorting to tuition hikes or salary decreases.
While we appreciate the university not passing the cost on to either its employees or its students, we are forced to question their necessity. At the beginning of this year, the university repeatedly boasted that we had the largest freshman class since Katrina. Yet now, barely a month later, we have apparently failed to meet the quota of students necessary for current budgets to be adequate. Did we have a larger freshman class, but one not large enough for our plans? Did we somehow lose so many students that we failed to meet our goal? The late budget-cut would seem to suggest the latter.
No endeavor proceeds without mistakes, and it is impossible to anticipate every problem that may arise. But this budget cut seems to reflect a deeper lack of foresight in the administration, especially following the housing debacle with which we started the year. The closing of Cabra Hall put students in unusually crowded conditions in the remaining dorms, to which the university responded with hasty panic as the year started. But they chose to close Cabra — it wasn’t forced upon them. The lack of adequate housing was a failure in university foresight.
It is unclear whether the unusually crowded conditions in the dorms contributed to our having fewer freshmen than anticipated. According to Fr. Wildes, the decrease in freshmen and graduate students at Loyola is part of a wider national trend, but we cannot simultaneously have the largest freshman class since Katrina and fail to have enough students to meet our financial needs. Either the university set far more grandiose goals than it could reasonably have achieved, or it lost enough freshmen over the course of the semester that it was forced to adjust its budget to compensate. Either explanation suggests a failure in the foresight of the administration — a failure we have already seen once before.
It is possible that this is just a temporary and inevitable consequence of the many ways in which Loyola is striving to improve itself. But what if continued failures in administrative foresight result in further setbacks to the university’s goals? Will we then pass the cost on to students in the forms of tuition increases?
Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a pattern. It is possible that these administrative gaffes are isolated instances and do not indicate any deeper problem. But if there is a deep-seated problem in the administration’s foresight, it needs immediate redress. After all, the first administrative miscalculation of the year resulted in cramped dorms and housing problems, while the second has resulted in general cuts in operations throughout the entirety of the university. What would be the consequences of a third?