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Is it worth going fast and furious, CWRU?

Lucas Yang

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault and harassment

Even though I am now a sophomore at Case Western Reserve University, I still vividly remember the emotions leading up to my first year here. On the one hand, I was beyond ecstatic to get out of my hometown and start anew at CWRU. But like many prospective students, I also worried if I’d ever make sense of CWRU’s innumerable systems, whether that was navigating the advising system, choosing where I wanted to get dinner or, most importantly, figuring out how to graduate with all the necessary credits.

Then halfway through last year, just as I finally managed to wrap my head around it all, the administration unleashed a barrage of major changes at breakneck speed. It started small by switching to a new housing portal during the spring semester. Then it was learning about the new Unified General Education Requirements (UGER) and bridging them with the old academic requirements, which is all very confusing.

Then it became one substantial change after the other, with little time to adjust: Navigators were replaced with four-year advisors, student support offices were shifted around, Grubhub was replaced with Transact Mobile Ordering and, most egregiously, CWRU—in a controversial decision—modernized its logo and colors. At this rate, I wonder if we’ll have to start using Microsoft Outlook instead of Gmail.

While the current construction projects—the new Southside dorms and the research building in lieu of Yost—have been ongoing for a while, it only amplifies this perception that too much is happening too fast, akin to whiplash.

The administration should recognize that these changes impact the entire university, especially the student body. For the Class of 2027, it most likely won’t matter as they are already starting with everything new. But for everyone else who is accustomed to navigating the old way of things, it can be frustrating at times to unlearn all of that for something different.

CWRU is a wonderful institution to attend, but it is also a stressful place. It’s hard enough to tackle challenging coursework and become career ready while maintaining proper self-care. Dealing with all these systemic changes simultaneously is one more stressor.

Sure, some of that stress is self-imposed, but change is always hard to accept, especially when executed quickly. And I know that all students at CWRU, including me, will eventually adjust to these new systems—after all, we must follow them.

I should also clarify that I am not against change; many times, it is necessary and beneficial. CWRU, like any major institution, should invest in implementing fresh, new ideas on campus. This not only furthers the university’s reputation of innovation and progress, but it can also benefit the student body and Cleveland community. For example, the investment in an interdisciplinary research building or adding more places that accept CaseCash will have a positive impact.

But we must consider the drawbacks to this “fast and furious” approach to change at CWRU.

What would’ve happened if the administration implemented these systemic changes incrementally? Sure, it wouldn’t have looked like the current administration was making as much of a difference; however, if the administration had allotted a substantial amount of time between each major change, we would have had time to iron out any wrinkles and ultimately think through whether each new change is truly an improvement. With the countless changes, there’s too much uncertainty as to whether they will all work out.

Additionally, with so many ongoing modifications to the old system, the administration runs the risk of enacting change solely for the sake of it. Certain changes didn’t seem necessary to implement, especially because there wasn’t much wrong before, such as switching from Grubhub to Transact to order food. Grubhub was a well-oiled app for many students and Transact isn’t user-friendly. Also, considering that the logo change wasn’t well-received by many, it didn’t seem worth implementing other than for the sake of doing something different.

Most concerningly, this “fast and furious” approach only sweeps CWRU’s preexisting problems under the rug. While many great things will be implemented, it doesn’t diminish what’s happening underneath the surface. It’s concerning that these issues aren’t prioritized in CWRU’s current movement of change.

For starters, new housing sounds fantastic, but many underclassmen live in dilapidated buildings with deplorable living conditions, where basic utilities such as washing machines are in desperate need of replacement. The fate of whether a student gets bearable housing for the year is all in the hands of an arbitrary lottery system. Additionally, communicating with University Housing for work orders is a frustrating endeavor.

And while CWRU will soon act on their proposed reforms for dealing with sex discrimination cases, it doesn’t minimize the Department of Justice’s conclusion that, for many years, the university disregarded Title IX protocols and both failed to acknowledge and address the extensive reports of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination across campus, particularly in Greek life. For a supposedly safe campus, this is alarming to hear.

The issues with housing and sex discrimination, alongside others, are incredibly important and affect the livelihood of every CWRU student. To overlook them is doing us a disservice.

Change doesn’t always mean overhauling everything old and replacing it with something new. If the administration also ameliorated some of the existing issues, on top of implementing new ideas, this would also be an invaluable form of progress. This is especially important considering the momentous Title IX investigation.

From now on, I implore the administration to slow down and consider whether the future systemic changes they make are worth it. Not for progress’ sake, but for the well-being of every student.

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About the Contributor
Lucas Yang
Lucas Yang, Graphic Designer
Lucas Yang (he/him) is a second-year student studying computer science and English. He enjoys abandoning art projects, watching figure skating and distimming the doshes.

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