A sober look at the concept of ‘legacy’

By Ed Veilleux

It has been a crazy few months out here, tucked away from the rest of Sudbury at Laurentian University.

School administration seems to have an insatiable hunger for expansion.

Plans to expand in Barrie are well underway now that Barrie city council has OK’d funding and the commitment to bring a university to the city.

Closer to home, Laurentian has purchased land in downtown Sudbury to build its school of architecture and plans to get the specialty school up- and-running are in place.

Throwing around the word “legacy” can’t be helped when thinking about these events and the last few months, overall.

Whether or not, the administration is thinking of “legacy” projects or just working on their key goals (national recognition, anyone?), it has proven to be an interesting time for the school.

“Legacy” isn’t always a positive word, however.

It seems that the outrage from administration cuts in the summer are just slowly taking hold now throughout the student population and among professors. I’ve heard stories from friends and colleagues about professors “denouncing” our university president.

Let’s be realistic. Laurentian University President Dominic Giroux doesn’t act solely on what he thinks, personally, is best for the university, and even if he wanted to, he would have to pass the decision (in this case, a budget) through the board.

From a student perspective, I’m angry about the cuts. I’m angry that some services on campus are subpar. The difficulties experienced when registering for a summer course and then registering to return to university this year were both experiences I’d rather not live through again. I remember the woman at the front desk laughing at me, after I paid my summer tuition off and told her I wished to register for full-time fall studies (as I had the year before).

“How will you be paying?” she asked.

“I don’t exactly have that kind of money sitting in my account,” I replied, having just paid $1,200 for six summer credits.

“Well, you only have a few days left,” she said, laughing.

I didn’t think it was funny at all that I only had days left to secure funding for school, from my bank (not everyone qualifies for OSAP).

She reassured me that I must have received a letter at some point in the summer, stating when my fees were due. That was not the case. The letter never made it to me.

Horror stories happen at every institution, I understand that. And, as one bright student leader told me, it’s impossible to “quantify” whether or not the administration cuts have hurt the university’s services just yet. He’s right.

There is this looming feeling lately of discontent. You can hear it at the SGA board meetings, talking to your professors and talking to friends.

Laurentian’s national MacLean’s ranking might be climbing steadily, but the institution needs to keep its eyes on local issues and the student experience. When you’re out there, securing money and shaking hands with all levels of government, remember to continue doing your job for current students.

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