Administration Fails to Address Colgate’s Future: The Students

In the end, it’s all dollars and cents. Parents know it. Students know it. Professors know it. And the administration knows it, or do they? Colgate University consistently ranks in the top five nationwide for schools with the highest tuition. But as students, that matters very little to most of us, as our parents pay for our education. We are comforted by the fact that the $150,000 we will spend on our education is an investment into our futures. Therefore, it must follow that Colgate has an investment in us, the students. So, when you do the math, collectively, Colgate’s students are worth a little more than $400 million to the University. You would expect that any investment would be treated with respect and prudence. You would expect that Colgate would not want to upset its students. You would expect that if the students are treated well, they will hold up their part of the bargain. They will bless the good University with buildings and scholarships so Colgate can move from seventeen to fifteen in the U.S. World Report college rankings. Ironically enough, an institution that is so concerned with their tiny endowment has forgotten that today’s students are NOT tomorrow’s leaders, but rather tomorrow’s money makers. Right now, Colgate students are upset with the administration and the University. And if the administration does not start appeasing them fast, they will lose an entire generation of potential money donors. It’s probably common knowledge to some students, but there are two critical problems at Colgate. The first is the dearth of information fed to the students. And the second is the unfortunate belief certain campus groups have that they must appease the administration. Both problems are tormenting our University. Has anyone noticed the construction south of the hospital on 12-B? If you were not aware that Colgate is building a new housing complex for juniors and seniors, now you are. This raises two questions. Since the people living in that complex will presumably not be members of a Greek organization, they will probably have a certain affinity for the bars in downtown Hamilton. So, how will the juniors and seniors get downtown on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights when the cruiser will stop running at midnight? My friend asked President Chopp this question when she had dinner at our house. She implied that she was not the correct person to pose this question. If the President of our University has not carefully considered the social consequences of building a new housing complex, why is it being built? Maybe a better question would be, why didn’t Colgate ask the students if they wanted this complex? Typical. They have already locked themselves into a solution without getting any input. This asymmetric information has led student groups to endorse and denounce policies they know little about. Everyone knows all about the SA4C website these days. My most shocking moment at Colgate came when I read an e-mail from the IFC which denounced this website. The SA4C website defends the Colgate Greek system and seeks its preservation more than anything else. I am utterly confused why the IFC would denounce this website when they both have the exact same goal! The only thing I can think of is appeasement. The IFC believed that appeasing the University was more important than standing up for itself. At least the IFC’s leadership will be changing next semester. I know that next semester’s president will not stand for such political corruption. So, where does this all lead? Greek members possess two important traits. They have the highest GPA on campus and they strongly resent the administration. Therefore, if GPA and dollars earned after college have any correlation, Colgate will soon see a dramatic decrease in their already miniscule endowment. President Chopp and Dean Weinberg, you possess an investment that is more than twice the size of the New York Yankees’ payroll. What would George Steinbrenner do if his investment had no long term value? He would sell high and then buy low. President Chopp and Dean Weinberg, either fix the perception of your investment, or Colgate will suffer in the long run and we will all lose.