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Decisions today damage a future

This is in response to the article “Nobody’s satisfied” from Nov. 6 regarding the State University of New York at Fredonia.

While I would agree with College Council Chairman Frank Pagano’s comments that something needs to be done regarding finances for SUNY Fredonia, I’m afraid his ideas about cutting faculty are extremely distressing. As the campus is a major economic force in the region, it’s important that we get this right–and reducing faculty and staff to cut costs is not the way to go. The campus has already lost a substantial amount of its faculty. From fall 2018, where total students were 4,657 with 381 full-time faculty and 62 part-time faculty, according to www.fredonia.edu/about/fredonia-at-a-glance to fall 2020, where total students were 4,075 with 234 full-time faculty and 167 part-time faculty.

Spend any amount of time talking with the people in the trenches doing the actual day-to-day work of interacting with students, and you’ll quickly hear how professors have retired without having been replaced, how departments are sharing secretaries and chairs, how teacher load has been increased unilaterally to the point of lawsuits from the union.

The fact is: once the quality of programs decreases, you won’t see better retention. Especially on the internet, word gets out about quality — and you’re not going to paint over it with billboards and digital campaigns.

You’re better off investing in your faculty. The faculty are the people interacting with students every day. They make or break a program. Pagano is right the campus has a lot of resources, such as the new science building. But buildings don’t teach — no matter how good they look — and faculty are the campus’s best asset.

I’ve never heard a former student talk about how they miss their science building 10 or 20 years down the line.

Amanda Vink is a Fredonia resident.

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