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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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Editorial: CWRU is building for the future despite the urgent needs of the present

Case Western Reserve University is in a perpetual state of transformation, with plans for new buildings and grand visions of the future. However, the predominant focus on physical facilities has cast a shadow over the fundamental mission of providing a high-quality education. This reflects a skewed allocation of resources and a prioritization of construction endeavors over crucial academic programs, student support and proper maintenance.

The CWRU campus is littered with numerous pre-existing buildings left to fall into disrepair. Have you ever been in a classroom with no air conditioning during a hot Cleveland summer? It’s tough. Students and teachers sweat it out, trying to focus on learning. And guess what? Most buildings still don’t have it. First- and second-year dorms have especially outdated resources, with a plethora of broken or unusable living essentials such as showers, washers and dryers. Even so, the focus remains on constructing new buildings that may not even be completed before the graduation of the students whose tuition is funding these projects. Instead of pouring funds into expensive new structures, CWRU’s time and financial resources would be better invested in upgrading existing facilities for practical student use.

Rather than solely focusing on future aspirations, let’s address the pressing needs of the here and now. Enhancing existing resources and including academic support programs and infrastructure should take priority over these projects.

Yost Hall, the longstanding hub of the Department of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, is set for demolition to pave the way for the development of the Interdisciplinary Science and Education Building (ISEB). Despite the building’s unsightly exterior, its interior functions perfectly well while the department housed within lacks institutional support.

As many students already know, CWRU is highly regarded for its top-tier engineering and advanced science programs, thinking beyond the possible and driving innovation. Given the school’s reputation, one might reasonably anticipate a vibrant math department, rich with resources to support students to excel. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Despite the pressing need for math support, crucial courses such as MATH 121 and MATH 122—Calculus for Science and Engineering I and II, respectively— offer office hours and mandatory recitations, but no guided, Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions. For students who struggle with calculus, they keenly feel the absence of these sessions that could have provided crucial, accessible extra help. Additionally, these sessions could have significantly eased the learning process and bridged the gap between lectures and comprehension.

The lack of technological unity across classrooms is striking, especially when transitioning from spaces equipped with advanced technology, such as smartboards and computers, to those where basic tools like chalkboards remain the norm. In particular, areas such as Mather Quad or the Nursing Research Building suffer significantly from this inconsistency. There’s a noticeable absence of up-to-date technological resources in many of these classrooms, hindering the learning experience and limiting accessibility for students. These spaces lack projectors or even consistent access to Wi-Fi, which impedes engagement and collaborative learning.

It is hard to believe the university would prioritize the construction of a $300 million building over the basic educational needs of students, such as additional help and qualified professors. Redirecting funds towards hiring experienced educators, rather than lavish buildings, could significantly improve foundational courses such as calculus; however, the university’s decision to prioritize the construction of a high-cost building over addressing fundamental educational needs raises significant concerns about its genuine commitment to fostering an enriching learning environment for its students.

Dreaming big is admirable, but not when it undermines the immediate needs of the student body. CWRU has the opportunity to channel resources toward meaningful improvements that directly impact the daily experiences of its students. While the promise of new structures may be exciting, it’s imperative not to lose sight of the needs of the present. The administration can strike a balance between investing in futuristic visions and addressing immediate campus concerns, ensuring that students benefit today and tomorrow from the changes at CWRU.

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Unsigned editorials are typically written by the opinion editor but reflect the majority opinion of the senior editorial staff.

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