“Given the deep student concern and the significant consequences related to scaling back need blind, I see tackling this issue as my single greatest priority.”
A few weeks ago, we updated you on a post by WSA President Zach Malter ’13 regarding the University’s shift towards need-aware admissions and the concern it has generated among students. Malter argued for more legitimate student input in Wesleyan’s financial decisions: he proposed forming a “Student Budget Sustainability Task Force” to identify areas for cuts and seek alternatives to cutting need-blind. The group would present its recommendations to the administration in November—and, Malter stresses, “no need-blind related decisions should be finalized until then.”
new more recent posting, Malter says the task force, which he suggested to President Roth’s office on June 18, will form as planned “within the first three weeks of classes.” Malter managed to speak with President Roth himself about the plan, which Malter calls his “top priority”:
I had several conversations with the President’s office and one with the President himself about the task force. President Roth is willing to work with the task force—to meet with the group, share documents, and answer questions—so they can be sufficiently informed and provide meaningful recommendations. He will also ask other administrators to cooperate. As a result, we will be moving forward with the task force, constituting the group within the first three weeks of classes.
WSA president calls for student task force on need-blind changes, blasts “Token Transparency”
When President Roth met with concerned students last month regarding Wesleyan’s move away from need-blind admissions, he expressed a firm willingness to consider student proposals and hear out alternative solutions. In a provocative recent post on the WSA blog, President Zachary Malter ’13 accepts the challenge, calling on Roth to rise “beyond token transparency”—in short, to give students a legitimate voice in policy-making before finalizing any measures. At the heart of Malter’s proposal is the creation of a student task force—the Student Budget Sustainability Task Force—to take on the role.
Malter begins by outlining Roth’s proposal, then articulating the core reasons so many oppose it: in short, “how can Wesleyan criticize and challenge socio-economic inequality, if its admissions policy reinforces that very inequality by offering an advantage to students from wealthier families?” The popular retort is that it is merely a “necessary evil,” that there is no better alternative. Malter, among others, is not so sure—in large part because the budgetary details have not been made available:
Whether there is more room for cost-savings and revenue generation that does not significantly compromise the quality of education remains an open question. President Roth claims that the administration has already made all the possible cuts of inessentials and has already explored all the possible revenue generating options. But what if students had the chance to brainstorm cost-saving measures and give direct budget input?