It was clear from the moment the president finally made the big announcement the campus had been waiting for that there would be mixed reception. Many applauded, some looked to those standing to their left and right, others turned and left.
It was unexpected to be sure. Many believed the change would address some concerns that students have around campus: a new residence hall, upgraded science and nursing labs, more scholarship opportunities and so on.
What it ended up being, however, while still a great benefit to the university, fell short of many of our expectations for more campus-wide change.
And that expectation was not without reason.
The first email sent out to the campus community on Sept. 3 said the event “will forever transform Saint Peter’s University,” adding that classes would be cancelled that afternoon so that “everyone has the opportunity to participate in this University-wide celebration.”
Indeed, the school should always celebrate a generous gift, one that will surely benefit many students to pass through this university. A strengthened business school will help push Saint Peter’s onto the map and, in the long run, will likely benefit the other schools as well.
But today, while many departments and student organizations are strapped for cash due to recent budget constraints, it was difficult for those outside the business school to watch. The cancellation of classes and the promise of a “University-wide celebration” led many to believe that some of their troubles would be put at ease, faculty and students alike. What was sufficiently announced via email last fall, surely, could have been done likewise on Sept. 18.
The university should reserve the cancellation of all classes for events that are truly catering to the entire student and staff population. In the future, I hope that announcements like these are made with a degree of reservation that is appropriate for the changes being made. If only one school is going to receive the vast majority of the benefit, it’s hard to justify cancelling the classes of those who will see little to none of that benefit.
I, like many of those disappointed by the announcement, serve my university gladly. I help build the campus community as an RA, I bring music to school events through the choir and I urge prospective future students to attend my alma mater as a Pavo Ambassador. I love my school, and I want to see it prosper in the years to come.
I hope that future gifts are regarded with a level of consciousness that is proportional to their effect. At the end of the day, all students come here for an education; to interrupt that should be reserved only for when there truly is a reason for all to celebrate.