UNA leaders must prioritize campus investments

News Editor Ashley Remkus

by News Editor Ashley Remkus

I think it is fair to say most people were happy for faculty and staff members when a 3 percent cost of living adjustment was announced at the quarterly board of trustees meeting earlier this month.

The people who come to work at UNA each day and ensure the success of students deserve to be thanked for their service.

The problem is many of them say they will not benefit from the pay raise.

In the days following my reporting of the board meeting, I heard from many faculty and staff members who said they will be bumped to a higher tax bracket, making their pay increase an actual decrease.

To avoid moving tax brackets, some faculty members could be forced to drop a class. But, either way, they will still be earning less money.

Some of the faculty and staff members I talked to said they wished the money would have been used for something else — something that would benefit students.

This semester The Flor-Ala published two articles about the poor quality of campus facilities that results from what officials call a “lack of funding” for the projects.

Many students currently live in residence halls that do not meet quality standards, bathrooms across campus are not properly maintained, campus safety initiatives are postponed (see page 2A) and academic facilities are in ruin.

The conversation among many students is they do not understand how new buildings are being financed and built, yet the buildings that are already paid for and constructed are not being maintained because the university cannot afford it.

“Doesn’t even make sense that they don’t have the money for upkeep of the showers and restrooms but have money for all the nice buildings that are going up and have recently been added,” a Facebook user commented on the campus bathrooms article shared on The Flor-Ala Facebook page.

Some students have even attributed falling enrollment to the poor building quality.

I agree. I do not know anyone who would come to campus for SOAR, stay in a building where cold water falls on his or her head while he or she uses the bathroom then decided they would like to live there.

The problem here is setting priorities.

Campus administrators should consider what will benefit UNA most when establishing the budget. They should put the money where their mouths are.

With falling enrollment (less tuition revenue) and crumbling facilities, leaders have to make tough decisions about how they will spend the minuscule funds they have.

In this case, the right decision is investing in the people who pay the bills — students.