Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Call for Transparency...

With everything that's been taking place on campus this week, there have been a lot of questions posed, with very little answers given.

Some of us are scared of what lies ahead. Some of us are invigorated by the opportunity to start all over.

Now matter what end of the spectrum we fall on, there is one common thought amongst all of us...

WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?!?!

In a matter of three days, THREE DAYS, our fate was decided for us.

Sure these issues didn't just pop up over the weekend like a bad rash; they had been building for quite some time.

But keep in mind this was a decision made by a board of directors that none of us, at least to our knowledge, had the pleasure of ever meeting, let alone the opportunity to state our case.

Do not be fooled. This was a tough decision for them, to be sure, but it wasn't made with the best interests of the students of TUFW in mind. It was made for
Upland.

Let's call it like it is.

We don't speak these words out of bitterness, We speak them out of what little understanding we have of the situations that have been brought to light.

It's still too early in the game to fully comprehend and understand what's happened, all the reasons for why it happened, and who really benefits the most from what's happened.

But since we haven't been given any answers as of yet, we'll let their words and actions speak for them.

First, we wish to point you towards the
Chronicle-Tribune of Grant County...

Dr. Steve Bedi, provost of Taylor University, said the move will probably mean student growth in [the] Upland campus, and will help the university reach its 2016 goal of 2,500 students...

So wait, Taylor University Fort Wayne is was expandable? We knew we could find some sort of good out of this whole situation, but we didn't think about the benefits this could have for Upland. Wow, how selfish of us to not keep that in mind.

We could look at it this way, the closing of TUFW makes funding for Upland's new building projects a little easier.

Oh wait, you didn't know about those?...

Plans for a vast extension of the Nussbaum Science Center are currently under way. The proposed building extension will more than double the current size of the Nussbaum Science Building.

Doubling the size of an already adequate building is usually a good plan when another campus has been financially bringing you down.

And don't forget, it can get pretty cold in Upland...

Research is being conducted to assess the usefulness and functionality of a tunnel which would act as a campus backbone for fiver optics and other utilities. Additionally, this tunnel would be a prime pedestrian route in unfavorable weather...


We understand that we're students of the Fort Wayne campus and all, so it maybe it's just beyond our own comprehension, but that sounds like a pretty fancy tunnel.

In another article describing the ambitious science center...

Yet this building is no typical building project and it reflects much of what is distinctive about Taylor University...Our attention to value engineering opportunities, that is, to more economical ways of achieving the same goal, reflect our stewardship of material resources...

One campus is floundering in financial ruin because of poor decisions and the inability to act in a timely manner. Another campus continues its steady growth in elaborate facilities while closing down the previous campus.


Yep, sounds like good stewardship to me.

Lastly, we want to point out the "real" reason our campus is being closed down...

...the university’s president announced Monday, citing a poor business model and a “downward spiral” of enrollment as the chief causes...


Poor business model? Well, who's fault was that? Wasn't TUFW a part of
Taylor University as a whole?

Who implemented the business model? Where are the decisions regarded TUFW ran through? Oh yes...the answer to those questions is simple: Taylor University Upland.

It was Upland's job to put someone in place to run this campus in a way that was "financially viable". They did that. It was just eight years too late.

Giving Dr. Kilty two years to turn this campus around, when it was already apparent for many years prior that we were on the downslope, was poor, inexcusable management.

"Whelp, we bought you with the intention of making money off of you, but that didn't work out. So, see ya later..."

As for the "downward spiral" of enrollment? Didn't this year see a huge leap in freshmen enrollment? Weren't there some positive, money-making ideas floating around the campus?

This whole semester we were led to believe of some major improvements taking place around TUFW.

Honestly, this semester had been one of the most encouraging and exciting ones for me, in light of all that was going to be taking place here. Unfortunately, we were never given enough time to prove our worth to
Upland.

We understand that we may come across as "whiney, immature reactionaries" in all of this, and you would probably be right in labeling us as such.

In fact, it may even come across as hypocritical, seeing that I, Jared, wrote a post for the school's student blog, extolling the virtues of not becoming bitter and understanding that God will see us through the troubles we are now faced with.

We both still believe that. We truly do.

But God did not cause TUFW to close. We don't believe He had this plan in place all along. Did He know it was going to happen? Of course. Did He WANT it to happen? We can't imagine why, though we are not privy to His thoughts.

This was a result of men and women. The closing of TUFW was the decision a board of directors made. We believe they were sincere and good-intentioned in their search for answers, though we are not pleased one bit with their decision given the evidence that this was NOT an unavoidable outcome.

Before you even say it, we know.

We weren't in those meetings. We don't have all the facts before us. We don't know the statistics. We don't understand the business side of it.

Yada yada yada...

You're right. We don't know. And THAT is the problem. We are calling for transparency in this matter.

Complete and utter transparency.

We deserve that.

TUFW deserves that.


Jared Murray and Tyler Morningstar



8 comments:

Khrista said...

Jared,

I agree with you! Let's see the notes from the meetings and the business model that failed.

By the way, we were up on our enrollment the other campus was down. Those are the numbers the presented to the media. Let me know if I can help.

Shawn said...

awesome article ... i'm going to post a link to it via my blog as well.

you totally have my support - you know that.

i already asked brent (our student president) to call for a meeting with the board of directors. we'll see what happens.

if this is GOD'S will, then by all means i say we back off ... but until we know for certain this is HIS will, let us not go down without a fight.

GOD was starting a new revival on campus. GOD renewed our vision and passion for this community, and city. It seems odd that HE would now shut it down ... because of money. since when did money ever become an issue for GOD anyways?

shawn

Megan Nicolet said...

Jared,
Thank you for so eloquently stating what I think most of us are thinking and feeling. I wish I knew what went through the minds of the board directors. I hate the thought of leaving. I don't want to go!!!! I hope something can come out of everyone's questioning.

Palmer said...

Jared and Tyler . . . I really appreciate your passion and your perspectives. I agree with you that this year seemed to be off to a great start, as evidenced especially by the spirit in chapel. (I hope that, somehow, students and staff are able to maintain that spirit and continue to fellowship in chapel for the rest of the year.)

One small correction: I've seen it said several places that TUFW's enrollment was up this year. Believe me, I wish that was true. I never got to see this year's official enrollment figures compared side-by-side with last year's, but from what I could tell, the fact is that enrollment was down slightly this year from last. The last report I saw indicated that 2008's headcount was 1000 exactly, including online, while 2007's total was 1011. The freshman class and transfer numbers were up a little bit, but this isn't as encouraging as it might sound because last year's new student numbers were the lowest in quite some time.

I do think we had good potential for real growth in new student enrollment for Fall 2009 if we had been allowed to continue full out and been resourced/supported properly. We'll never know, of course. There were so many distractions and hurdles, it's hard to predict, and I assume it was that lack of predictability that scared the board into this action.

I'm very sad for the staff of TUFW and especially the students--particularly those who really have no good option other than TUFW. But this decision isn't going to get reversed. There may be other miracles that could come into play, I suppose, but a flat-out reversal of the decision to close can't happen. The damage is done and even if the board said "Oh my, we made a mistake," the campus has suffered irreversable damage. No one would ever trust their education to Taylor University in Fort Wayne again.

Hang in there, guys. And do all you can to combat bitterness and discouragement. Jer. 29:11

Jared and/or Tyler said...

@Palmer...

I see your point with enrollment. Perhaps I had been given the freshmen statistics. Either way, I agree that we were in place for some serious growth.

I also don't foresee a decision reversal. No matter what we say or do, it wouldn't/couldn't happen. But, I, along with everyone else am looking for answers to some of the issues brought up in this post. Perhaps I'm way off. Perhaps I'm just bitter. But the fact of the matter is, in the words of the immortal Ricky Ricardo, "Taylor, you got some splainin' to do..."

matt stine said...

im super glad that uplands goals are going to be reached by 2016, thats awesome...im also really glad that the papers also reported that our president habbecker or habegger or whatever his name is (i dont know because i have only seen him 1 time)spent the "day" talking with students and to the media....push should probably inform its readers that a day now consists of 3 and a half minutes...

Jimmy said...

Another great post, Jared!

Emily Coe said...

Amen.

I've been yelling about all of the aforementioned items all week. I'm glad I'm not the only one that's realized the REAL reason our school is being "discontinued."

Another thing that pisses me off is that they're telling the media everywhere that they're doing whatever they can to help us students out with the transfer process, even if that means not going to Upland. BUT... we all know that isn't true. They've created a Task Force to herd all of us down yonder and have FORBIDDEN us to have a college fair. Yeah, that's definitely helping us out in our transition process, huh?

Let's put a whole bunch of people out of a job and out of a home so that the Upland people can avoid getting their hair wet and increase their numbers.

Go Eugene Habecker! He's definitely at the top of my list right now.

And how about the board member that has balls enough to speak in Senior Seminar tomorrow night?