Last Thursday in the Governance Room of the Scot Center, President Cornwell, along with other members of the administration, met with students to participate in one of SGA’s Fireside Chats. This particular talk focused on an important issue to both students and faculty: tuition and budget cuts.
Laurie Stickelmaier, vice president for Finance and Business began the talk by giving an overview of the budget and discussing where our tuition money is spent. President Cornwell then took the reins, assuring students that he knows the student population is unhappy with recent budget cuts and the increasing tuition. He also noted that Wooster gives out a huge amount of financial aid in comparison to other schools; 95 percent of students receive some amount of financial aid.
“There was a call to action, and he was answering it.” Ginna Rich ’14, committee chair for Outreach and Diversity in SGA, said about President Cornwell.
Cornwell opened up the talk for discussion and welcomed any questions that the students had. The students who attended the discussion were looking for answers, and definitely did their homework. Their questions showed that they were very well informed and not afraid to ask hard questions. One student even asked Cornwell if he would be willing to cut his own salary. Cornwell responded saying, “I have a high salary. I get paid what presidents get paid. And if I were to go somewhere else, Wooster would hire another president that would make what I do or more.” He also noted that while his salary is “significant,” it “wouldn’t make a big difference.”
The reactions from Tuition 101 seem to be split. Some thought the talk was very successful, while others were left unsatisfied.
Jordan McNickle ’14 thought the event went well. He appreciated that the administration took time out of their afternoon to meet with students, and felt that they did their best in answering questions. He also noted that, “A greater push toward transparency was one of the other positive results of the event, as students and administrators in attendance agreed that the information presented should be available to everyone on campus.” He continued, “I think if the student body can continue to have conversations like this with the administration, faculty and staff moving forward, then we can achieve greater transparency and address some of the student body’s biggest concerns.”
“The students want to be heard, and the administration wants to hear us. I think SGA fulfilled its role in doing that,” said Molly Recka ’14,
Some students have voiced concern that Cornwell doesn’t understand the situation that international students are in. They do not receive the same types of grants that American students can receive, and transferring to a new college due to financial concerns is not as easy as it might be for American students.
At the end of Tuition 101, President Cornwell asked Rich if they could hold an event like Tuition 101 every year before the budget comes out in hopes of having better communication between the administration and the student body.