As a student working toward my Masters in Business Administration, I am disappointed at how our prestigious University is, and has been, handling this budget cut. Our mission statement says Northwest focuses on student success “every student, every day,” but we aren’t actually practicing what we preach. We are talking the talk but severely failing to walk the walk. It is disappointing and ironic, the lack of concern and respect management is displaying based on what I have learned as a business student. The process is all wrong.
First, of the original 20 staff eliminated, 19 were women, and some were close to retirement. Are we being discriminatory or justifying the decisions based on eliminating more positions occupied by women? I also know some of the staff “informed individually prior to a campus-wide announcement that was made around noon Feb. 16, 2012” were told barely hours in advance. How is it fair to give them little notice, on the same day, in the middle of the week, and not give them the rest of the day off? I understand crisis management and how the media should be informed, but aren’t our employees a bit more important than controlling how the information is released? This is poor employee relations.
Second, I feel we have taken the easy way out with some of the department reorganizations and leadership positions. I don’t feel Northwest has practiced fair deliberation in choosing new leadership. I feel we have neglected some faculty who push others to succeed and work for the best of the group by trying to keep others happy. As a student, it looks as though we are reinforcing the wrong behaviors. I don’t see faculty and staff being rewarded for years of hard work or support they provide others.
Third, we as students still feel uneasy as to other decisions that might be made. Will student employee jobs be cut? Will graduate assistantships be cut? Will tuition eventually be raised? I feel we have chosen the easy decisions to make first by cutting staff, combining departments, etc. but haven’t looked at other areas. Should we cut in athletic areas, janitorial staff, grounds keeping, vending machines or electricity, by leaving lights on at night?
Another MBA student (in her words) feels, “Some decisions have nothing to do with budget cuts, but simply about cutting people due to personal reasons.” It is comments like these that have created a dismal environment of uncertainty and disappointment. The lack of a clear agenda and transparency is only fostering these thoughts among many students, faculty and staff.
I feel if we continue with this process and the decisions we are making, more faculty and staff will be eliminated, tuition will have to increase (just look at the national budget cuts in education), and in the end we may lose great teachers who make an impact on students’ lives.
I believe in what Northwest stands for and the education I receive, but right now I am simply discouraged.