By Evan Rothera
In an e-mail to the student body, President Riggs delineated several items in the fiscal year 2010 budget; one of the said items included the following statement:
“Comprehensive fee—Because we recognize that many families have concerns about the affordability of college during what could be a prolonged recession, the Board approved the lowest comprehensive fee increase in more than four decades: 2.9 percent for a total of $48,050.”
There are very few people in this country who are not feeling the pinch of these adverse economic times, so, while a tuition cap would have been preferable, people seemed to understand that this did not appear to be feasible, and were happy that the tuition was only raised by 2.9 percent.
There was, however, another rumor which began to percolate through the campus in the past week, namely that the activities fee was also going to be raised and that part of the extra money would possibly go to items not traditionally associated with the activities fee, namely, to the new recreation center.
It is an interesting fact that, under the stormy tenure of the 13th president of Gettysburg College, the decision was made to build a new athletic center. I would like to be clear right now that I did not and do not support the construction of a new athletic center. Apart from the aft that it costs an inordinate amount of money, I feel that it is unnecessary. The facilities in Plank Gym are older, but are still in working order, and Bream-Wright Hauser was not built that long ago. Therefore, I consider the new athletic center superfluous and unnecessary. I also contend that it is being built simply so that the college can have more “eye candy.” In essence, rather than funneling more money into academics, or into dorm/building renovations, the college wants a nice new center which will appeal to prospective students.
So, now understanding that I was never a supporter of this financial drain to begin with, it is not that hard to see why I would be irritated when the college floats the possibility that I have to give them more money to support something I never wanted and consider superfluous. I deeply resent the fact that, in hard economic times, the students will be called on to give more of their money to the activities fee. It just seems to be a travesty, in my humble opinion.
Before I con conclude, let me make one thing clear: this article is not intended to be an attack against the administration, but rather against what I consider poor planning. Perhaps due to my innate cautiousness, I would have made sure all of the money was, as they say, in the bank, before starting the building process. A small liberal arts college does not need three athletic centers, but rather strong and vibrant academic programs. These are the lifeblood of the college, and spending money on something superfluous seems to be in violation of common sense.