Our view: A tangle in the World Wide Web


When we have a question, that’s usually the first place we head. We’ve been raised to ask questions in a language Google will understand.

But when we have a question about something about Kent State, we usually head to our beloved university’s Web site. But that’s where the problems begin.

At first glance, our university’s Web site is nothing too terrible. The front page design is clean enough, the links are broken down nicely and we can even log into FlashLine. Compared to the University of Akron’s Web site, it’s a downright accomplishment of modern design.

But if you dig a little deeper into the Kent State Web site, all you’re going to find is a slew of rarely updated pages with poor design schemes and a lack of organization. Many of the colleges and schools on this Web site appear as if they haven’t updated their design in years.

One of the main audiences of our university’s Web site is prospective students. The virtual tour of campus, which is quite cool, isn’t even on the main page. If our site isn’t visually appealing and constantly flowing with updated content, we’re going to lose these prospective students. Most university Web sites are nothing to brag about, but that doesn’t mean we have to fall into the status quo and offer up blobs of unorganized text to throw at high school students.

One glaring example of the mismanagement of Kent State’s Web site is the Center for Student Involvement Web page. Student life is one of the most appealing aspects of a university. Sure, the academic programs are a large pull, but an engaging campus life culture is what will bring and retain students. We’ve heard administrators say it a thousand times.

But when we click on student organizations’ Web sites, many have vanished or haven’t been updated. For example, PRIDE!Kent’s Web site hasn’t been updated in almost two years. Both the College Republicans and College Democrats Web sites don’t even load. That’s something to be proud of during the year of a presidential election.

We know how difficult it can be to constantly update a Web site and make sure it constantly functions (cough, cough, KentNewsNet.com). But it’s something that the university can’t ignore.

Katie Hale, executive director of Undergraduate Student Senate, made a solid effort to get a person hired to design Web sites for student organizations last semester. But because of a lack of resources, Hale and the Center for Student Involvement designed a PowerPoint with information on how to build a basic Web site.

But this can’t just be up to Hale and the Center of Student Involvement to help manage organizations’ Web sites. Hell, the center’s Web site is in disarray and the USS Web site doesn’t even work.

The university needs to put resources into its Web site if it wants to be a “magnet for high-achieving students.” The university could hire a Web development team devoted essentially to helping organizations, colleges, schools and departments maintain their Web sites.

Or we could just pay $88,000 for Ed Mahon, vice president of information services, to get his doctoral degree at Case Western Reserve. Oh wait, we’re already doing that.

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