Every year since I became a student at Eastern Michigan University, students have complained about parking. I, a commuter, even wrote a column about why parking was not as bad as people thought. However, as enrollment has gone up and I have had more experience, I agree that we need more parking that is convenient to students.
According to MLive.com’s Oct. 6 article, the university administration has heeded the students’ call for action…just not on parking.
Instead, the university will seek state money to add to the $11.75 million it plans on spending to renovate Strong Hall.
Is Strong Hall dangerous? No, it is just old and ugly. I understand renovating old buildings. I hate ugly, outdated buildings as well. However, the students asked the administration to create more convenient parking options.
This sort of tone-deafness is sad, but I guess it should not be surprising. Another example of this is food prices at The Commons.
Beginning this fall, eating at The Commons costs students almost $10 if they use cash, a credit card or a debit card. It will still cost $7.50 for commuters using the “Advantage flex” dollars and $7 for those using “Advantage meal plans.”
It seems, by doing this, the administration hopes to shoehorn commuter students into paying for meals in advance using these “Advantage” plans, because it is hard to believe that using cash, credit or debit is that much of an inconvenience.
This is a university where people go to be their family’s first college graduate, where commuters attend in droves and where many students are trying to get an education without spending too much.
Has the administration considered that many people may not be able to afford paying for a large number of meals in advance? Moreover, at a university that prides itself in being a commuter-driven university, one would think they would try to bring these students into places like this instead of treating them differently or forcing them to fall in line.
Writing this article even brings back memories of the last tuition increase. That was in June, when the university raised its tuition up to Gov. Rick Snyder’s tuition cap.
While doing this, however, the press release quoted EMU President Susan Martin as saying, “we continue to be among the state leaders in tuition restraint.” At the time, I was puzzled about the university’s definition of “leader” and “restraint,” because the truth seemed to be that Republicans in Lansing were doing the restraining in this case.
Add to this the continued spending of millions on a football program few students even care to read about (let alone watch) and the constant, seemingly random, constructing and removing of paths around campus.
I think we have the resources needed to do what the students are asking. And who knows, we could still renovate Strong Hall a few years from now, after getting things like parking and technology in order.
Pretty, new buildings can wait.