The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.
At an administrative meeting earlier this week President Randy Dunn mentioned conversations between himself and SGA concerning how to fund the new library. Administrators said funding could possibly be similar to that of the Wellness Center, where agency bonds backed by a special student fees are sold to cover the cost of construction. The bonds would mean an increase of fees to students who may not even be at the University when the new library is finished.
The decision to make students pay would come from the SGA. According the the Council on Post-secondary Education the vote must be a plebiscite, in which all students could vote for or against the measure. If this is the case, students on this campus would do well to act in their own self-interest. That self-interest can be found in the facts.
There have been minimal pay increases for faculty on this campus for the past 10 years and the number of faculty compared to the number of students is unacceptable. Money provided for the search of new faculty is dismal at best. The University is still paying off bonds sold more than two decades ago for various projects and students still haven’t paid off the debt incurred from the building of the Welness Center. But surely all this will be mended once students foot the bill for a new library. The quality of our education is of no consequence, so long as students can study blissfully in their new temple.
The University has said these two issues are not exclusive. The money provided for construction comes from a different source than money for daily operations. What is exclusive is the University statement on its own website for the new library claiming tuition will not be raised to cover new buildings saying “In other words, tuition is not being raised to pay for a new building; it is being raised to keep the University running.” There is no mention of additional costs.
For the University to even contemplate putting the burden of this project on the backs of current and future students is unacceptable and against its initial stance reflected on the new library’s webpage. An institution with the ability to raise more than $60 million in one year ahead of schedule and then extend that campaign to raise another $10 million should be able to find another way to build its library. How does the University expect students to pay for a project they will not even benefit from? The students paying may not ever see the library finished.
The University claims the benefit will come from all student services being located in the new library, becoming a one-stop hub for all things student-centered, including a dining facility. There is no doubt this building would be well-received. Especially when the majority of students on this campus cannot even tell where the current SGA office is.
But at what point did we stop planning to build a library and start drafting a Curris Center filled with books? It seems like a two in one deal until students consider the fee they are going to pay will most likely never go away. The University is calling this potential fee an alternative source of revenue. To even consider this plan is not in the best interest of students now or the students who will be here in 20 years.