Our View: This is our ‘State of University.’ What’s yours?

DKS Editors

In just a few short hours, President Lester Lefton will deliver his “State of the University Address” to the Kent community and outline top priorities for the university.

Lefton will discuss his “nine-point plan” for this academic year and beyond, which includes topics such as enrollment and retention, environmental sustainability, Responsibility Center Management and some other administrative jargon that makes students’ eyes glaze over.

He’ll probably top it off with how we’re going to put it all of this “excellence” into “action.”

At first, we thought we’d be typical and react to whatever Lefton says, but we thought it’d be a little more interesting to preempt his speech with our own “State of the University.”

We walk around campus every day. We’re the ones sitting in classes. We’re the ones paying tuition. We’re the ones struggling to find parking spots. So, we feel as if we have a pretty good idea of what’s happening at this university.

Kent State has definitely been in overdrive lately. There’s been, seemingly, millions of new initiatives addressing various issues such as student success and retention, international programs, fundraising efforts, research opportunities and the list goes on. All of these are positive, but the administration and all those involved need to ensure that these are well thought-out, coherent plans so they don’t die as a result of failed multitasking. Initiatives look good on paper, but we’re waiting to see the results.

We’re focused on so many things and retention and recruitment are constant buzzwords thrown around on the second floor of the University Library in the executive offices. But if we really want to attract and retain quality students, the university should ramp up its cultural awareness on campus. Kent State doesn’t necessarily scream, “We foster diversity and tolerate everyone’s differences!” After all, Lefton’s “Commission on Inclusion” doesn’t mean much to the hundreds of students who feel unwelcome and uncomfortable walking through campus every day. To them, it’s just another piece to the university bureaucracy.

The university seems to be at a point where it needs to decide what it values more – how its students see the university or what the rest of the country thinks of it. The higher-ups here would love to see us elevate in the college rankings, but we’re never going to do that if the students don’t feel represented.

The five people on this editorial board have the opportunity to tell the administration how we feel five days a week, and we’re pretty sure Lefton is a little tired of our rants. But the thousands of other students on this campus don’t have the same opportunity as we do.

So, it’s time for you – a Kent State student – to tell Lester Lefton what you think the “State of the University” really is. E-mail him at Left[email protected]. Go to KentNewsNet.com to comment on this editorial.

We told him how we feel, and now it’s your turn.

We hope he listens.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board whose members are listed to the left.