Students need to speak up to administration

Matthew Dosland ('19)

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I often hear something along these lines from students: “It’s a problem definitely, but administration has bigger issues, especially low enrollment, to focus on.”

I agree, low enrollment is probably the single biggest issue facing Luther College right now. But low enrollment is a multi-faceted problem and saying that administration should focus on low enrollment and not solve other problems facing Luther students is absurd.

In fact, it is contradictory. Luther has obligations to its past, current, and future students.

It seems like administration cannot be told that it is unreasonable to overlook an issue on campus so they can “focus on low enrollment.” Maybe the issue brought up would improve student life on campus, and current campus issues should always be one of the foremost concerns for the administration.

If the administration ignores a problem because they are focusing on low enrollment then I think we have found the reason for low enrollment. But administration is not ignoring problems they are told about; they are not receiving feedback from students about campus life.

The solution to low enrollment starts through recruiting and advertising with the administration, which they appear to be doing by reaching out to and recruiting in larger metropolitan areas. But once those prospective students get on campus and talk with Luther students, they find out what it is like to go here, and that is the biggest factor in a student choosing one college over another.

What is it like to be a student at this institution? The students here could tell prospective students that enrollment is down and the whole college is worried and other issues are being ignored because of the “more pressing issue of low enrollment.”

What does that tell a prospective student? They have to come here so problems will be fixed? They have to hope that the problems will be solved in the next one to four years while they go to school here? No one wants to spend any amount of money to go to an institution that has problems that will not be fixed by the admission of that own institution’s students.

All of this is to say that students here need to take a hard stance on issues that matter to them. If you think a problem is worth fixing, tell someone. Make it an issue; force Luther to address the problem. Nothing will be fixed by assuming the administration will do nothing.

If you assume a problem will not be fixed and you never mention the issue to someone who could have made a difference, how are they supposed to fix that problem? This is an unrealistic expectation on the part of the students and it is a perspective that needs to be changed in order for this institution to better itself.

Forcing the administration to confront issues will lead to one of two things. They will fix the problem and show their commitment to the past, present, and future student body; or they will ignore the problem, and at least then we know they do not care about us.

At the moment though, we as the students do not know if the administration cares about us or not. All we know right now is administration is trying to fix the problems they know about and increase enrollment.

So to current students, let’s take responsibility and do something about our lives on this campus. We are the ones paying them, right?


Matthew Dosland (‘19)

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