We cannot rest on our laurels. Last week, in his annual Presidential Address, Tony Frank spoke about the pride he has in all that CSU has accomplished in recent years, and we do indeed have a lot to be proud of. In the last five years, we have improved in almost every area across the board — retention rate, graduation rate, private fundraising, you name it. We can now boast that we are the largest university in the state, with nationally lauded science research programs and student media.
However, we cannot ride the reins of our recent success indefinitely, a point echoed in Frank’s address. We face an uncertain future with lots of questions, the answers to which will have an enormous bearing on the future trajectory of our community. Unfortunately, while Tony Frank seems to grasp the importance of our future, he said nothing in his speech to answer these questions. With so many issues facing our community in the next five years, we need administration to — no pun intended — be frank with us.
The problem is a lack of accountability; we as a community need to hold university leadership responsible for their decisions. Granted, our administration has developed an excellent track record and should be commended for leading our recent success, but this doesn’t mean they should be held in such high esteem that it is above questioning and transparency. Call me a stickler, but I think it’s wrong when President Frank is treated more like a frat brother than a leader; when there is more conversation about his beard than the future he has in mind for our tuition. As a student, I am much more concerned with the length of my bill than the length of any beard.
I realize the Presidential Address is certainly not a focal point for communication between administration and the community, but it provides an ideal forum for President Frank to start a dialogue with students and donors. For an authority that has been relatively mute about the controversial on-campus stadium all summer long, this does not instill much confidence that campus leadership will open up to us anytime soon. What about rising tuition? What about construction?
Frank did highlight these problems as issues that need to be addressed; but failed to see the irony in simply glancing over these obstacles while at an address. We Rams deserve answers from our leadership, not statements. It is our dollars that will be spent on these dilemmas, and we must demand more information.
With the rise of tuition and the construction around campus seeming to carry on ad infinitum, it is imperative that we begin to expect more from our leadership. While President Frank have a done a tremendous job leading our community to this point, we must not treat them as if they are above reproach or accountability. We cannot buy in to Frank’s ambiguous attitude about the future. In his address, he said that there is no one with whom he would rather address these questions than all of us. Let’s start, Mr. President.
Collegian Columnist Sean Kennedy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @seanskenn