Do university ambitions reflect students’ will?

Emmett Fleming
Guest Columnist 

News recently broke that VCU would spend an incredible amount of money building a new basketball practice facility — a head-turning $25 million.

To me, that seems like $25 million too much. Money like that can go to more demanding causes at the school, like security or maintaining school facilities.

The power to change administrative priorities is within us, the community and students. Our voices can influence whether VCU spends money on academics or athletics. Students just have to realize as much. If the student body wants VCU to spend its cash more wisely and on issues other than our basketball team, then the school will have to listen.

VCU is large, but not so large that it can’t listen to its students. This incredible amount of money, although neither from, nor beholden to the student body, is somewhat symbolic of the disconnect between administration and students.

VCU is a college expanding so quickly that its student body can’t catch up to itself. It morphs daily. VCU is a city within a city and that sometimes makes it difficult to gauge student opinion. The school represents its students with every check cashed for its development.

I’ve met many people at VCU and not one follows the basketball team or really cares about it. They’re more focused on their own lives. Understandably this doesn’t reflect the college, but it shows the impact of a large school where students exist anonymously in a system that knows them by their V-numbers — it almost sounds Orwellian.

When anonymity is high and no one really knows each other, it’s easy to feel unrecognized. The student body is impatient. Some students aren’t invested in the school system and only want to get what they want. “I’ll get mine and you get yours” seems like an accurate tagline for the school.

When the student body is disconnected from the school, it’s hard to find problems surrounding the school paramount in life. We all pay tuition, which is an investment to the school, though it’s absent of the heart and care necessary to galvanize support for VCU’s community to reach students and see what they want for the school’s future.

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