Still At the SLA


I’m still in Bloomington and learning a lot. Today I think I’ll probably take some pictures of the Bone Student Center, where the SLA classes are being held. It’s very nice. I linked up a report a few days ago that ISU seems to be doing well enough for the President here to approve raises. The attractiveness of the Bone Center is definitely another indicator of university health — and so are the various students I see using it.

Morris Library is a very attractive building now, at least on the floors that are open (does anyone know what’s actually up on the sixth and seventh floors? Or are they completely empty?). However, when I go to Morris I don’t see students using it as a library to get books. Why? The books aren’t there. They use it as a computer lab, a coffee shop/food area, a study area, and a site of social gatherings.

If I understand the purpose of the building — that’s what a student center should be doing. In fact, every time I’m in our student center that is exactly what I see students doing. So… where’s the place of the library in this?

Don’t get me wrong, I actually quite like Morris Library. Most of the things I need for my own research are digital so I can access it anywhere. However, what I need for teaching is often not nor does the library have the books I assign. I often have to purchase extra copies of texts and put those on reserve for my students because many of them can’t afford to buy books. Of course, you can’t have such a nice building on campus if you can’t pay for it and we apparently can’t pay to have books in the library.

The Daily Egyptian has two stories in today’s edition that are telling: Fee increase draws from students’ wallets and BOT approves money to build parking lot. There’s a couple of nice quotes from students regarding the rising costs and what the university seems to be spending its money on:

Debbie O’Neill, a graduate student in speech communication and women studies from Washington, said she doesn’t understand why over $1 million is spent on parking lots when the university’s academics are suffering from the budget crisis.

“I’m adamantly against spending that kind of money,” she said. “They’re going to spend $1 million on parking? That’s ludicrous. They need to put that money back into education.”

That’s a pretty good question to be asking. Do we need books or do we need parking? But an even better statement was made by Marcus King, former USG president:

“With all the auxiliaries like housing … when you complain and they raise fees, challenge these people,” he said.

King said he believes SIUC is an institution that should cater to the blue-collar working class and first-generation college students. He said he believes administration is forgetting that piece of the mission statement.

“What people in these positions have to realize is that if not for the students attending the university they wouldn’t have jobs, at least not in the educational industry and certainly not at this university,” he said.

It really has become increasingly obvious that the administration is not focused on the students. They’re focused on the money students bring in. So who cares about the students? The faculty, the staff (i.e., the people who actually have constant contact with students), and the students themselves. For me, that says a lot and it’s a message we should be delivering to the administration. We care about education and you should too.


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