Our view: It ain’t no vacation

DKS Editors

We’ve been throwing around the term “economy” a lot these days — most often pairing it with other words like “bad” or “downturn.” Some people are even comparing today’s economy to the Great Depression. However, the financial situation on Kent State’s campus does not appear to be in a state of economic crisis at all. After all, the recent announcement to invest $200 million in revitalizing Kent State will begin in less than a year.

A couple things in this plan just do not sit right, especially right after the cancellation of sabbaticals for the current school year.

First, the renovations are necessary to create a “first-tier research university,” Lefton said. A first-tier research university suggests that high-quality research is being done. Sure, there is some fascinating research being conducted on this campus, but the sabbatical freeze preventing some research from even happening is even more interesting.

A sabbatical is not a vacation for professors. Professors who take sabbatical are experts, who carry out specialized research in their fields and further their own education, which only comes back to positively influence students. Now, that sounds like high-quality education.

Second, Lefton has said we have reached a point where we can no longer wait to build these buildings that will house “cutting-edge research.” Kent State will probably find it difficult to find these cutting-edge professors if they cannot be offered what they have earned, especially if it comes at no cost to the university. More than 20 of the proposed sabbaticals were attached to grants and wouldn’t have cost the university any money, yet they were denied the option to broadening their knowledge.

On one hand, it is unfair to come down too hard on Kent State for freezing sabbaticals for just one academic year because they will be granting them again during the 2010-2011 school year. On the other hand, it is still unclear how many sabbaticals will be granted during the next academic school year.

The fact that Kent State was the only university who canceled sabbaticals and missed a year of research just seems strange when there are plans to have a renovated Risman Plaza by the next Homecoming football game.

The reconstruction budget may have absolutely nothing to do with the salary of the professors, but if the choice is between a less appealing Risman Plaza or higher qualified teachers, the choice should be pretty simple, especially if the goal is to achieve first-tier education.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.