As the search for the next Slippery Rock University president continues, we are served a reminder this week about truly supporting students and their passions. This week on SRU’s campus, students and faculty are celebrating the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival, a showcase of Slippery Rock’s arts and humanities students and what they do.
We celebrate the arts this week as five other state-system schools are going through retrenchment and could very likely lose their own arts programs. Why is it that we celebrate the arts when they can make the university look good, but when push comes to shove it always seems like the arts programs are the first ones to go?
While Slippery Rock has been fortunate the past few years not to experience the same drop in enrollment that other Pennsylvania schools have, it is still important that we take stock of ourselves as a university and decide what it is that we hold important, especially now that we are in the middle of a search for a new president. We believe whoever the new president is must support students and their passions, no matter what major or field they are in. SRU’s new president should be someone who will hold up each and every one of Slippery Rock’s student programs all the time, not just for one week in the spring to show them off.
This is not to say that current SRU president Cheryl Norton has not done this. Norton has led Slippery Rock over the past five years to financial gain and to the largest enrollment number in the history of Slippery Rock. That is why it is so important to find a new president who can do much of the same.
As the threat of retrenchment, faculty layoffs, cut programs and possible clusters looms over all the state-system schools, we need someone who students can trust will look out for them, regardless of their major or field of study.
So as we celebrate, show off and support the arts this week, let us not forget that we need to continue supporting one another in the future, not one week at a time but all the time. Regardless of who SRU’s next president is, it is important to remember that if we will not support each other as fellow students then it is hard for us to expect the administration, or the state, to support us.