Is St. Mary’s Still a Great Value?

It’s possible that St. Mary’s won’t be considered a great deal in education anymore, which is one of its greatest attractions to potential students.

Last semester students got a message sent out by Maggie O’Brien to all students and faculty informing us that there were some cuts being made in the budget of the school.

Most notably:

  • No new hires for a while, except for Public Safety.
  • Less vacation time for staff.
  • Energy-saving moves, like dimmer lights.

How does this affect me, the average St. Mary’s student? Well, our tuition is still going up by 5%, so we’re still being asked to pay more even though St. Mary’s is paying less.
When I brought this up at the Vegetarian Co-op where I eat, people indicated they were a little pissed. We saw that the price of meal-plans was going up 11%.
“As if the meal plans aren’t already extortion,” said Rhett Greenfield, in an interview at the Vegetarian Co-op. There is no way to opt out of the meal plan, unless you live on campus with a kitchen, off campus, or eat at the Co-op.
Several other people in the Co-op said they would have difficulty getting the money.
And there’s the fact that the state of Maryland is asking for $125,000 back from St. Mary’s, so now we have to make cuts across the board, including all of our 20+ academic departments.
Isn’t this fair? We are in a recession. Sure it’s fair. I’m hardly an expert on school finances, but maybe there are some better ways that St. Mary’s could cut costs.
* Stop paying the administration so much.
Look, I know that the administrators of the college are important. But look at their salaries!
In 2008 Maggie O’Brien made $346,427. That’s more than four times what your bread and butter full-time prof makes.
Larry Vote, the provost, made $226,135. Don’t you think they could cut their paycheck a little, if only out of solidarity with the cost-cutting of the rest of the school?
Also, many administrative positions’ salaries increased somewhere around 50-60% during the past eight years, whereas full-time professors’ salaries increased an average of 10%.
Most people have heard that professors come to St. Mary’s not for the money, but for the atmosphere.
Maybe I don’t understand how college salaries work, and I certainly don’t know what our “peer group” colleges are doing with their salaries, but I think something needs to change here.
* Stop spending money on things that don’t matter.
$40,000 for a sprinkler system? This arguably won’t benefit students in the slightest. A new Anne Arundel and Montgomery Hall?
These new buildings might attract more students and current students will appreciate them, but they aren’t necessary.
By wasting our and the state’s money, St. Mary’s isn’t giving us enough and is asking us for more.

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