EDITORIAL: An open letter to our 23rd president
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Dear Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.,
On behalf of the entire Marquette student body, we welcome you as our 23rd president.
We are excited to hear of your significant accomplishments at the University of Scranton, including the “Pride, Passion, Promise” plan, which has seen the completion of a new campus center and dormitory and is nearing its final stretch with a science center and sophomore apartment complex.
Following our College of Arts & Sciences dean search conflict and subsequent concerns about Marquette’s hospitality toward all people, we are pleased to hear you implemented the “Inclusion Initiative” at Scranton, which retains a support system for the university’s LGBTQ community.
Prior to Scranton, your initiatives implemented at Georgetown University to increase inter-religious dialogue and to promote the school’s Jesuit character resemble important needs at Marquette.
Your past successes are similar to those being made at Marquette, with a series of renovations and campus face lifts, including Eckstein, Zilber and McCabe halls. University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild has had an influential run at Marquette, leaving you with big shoes to fill.
And though you won’t be taking office until next summer, we want to impart you with several things we expect and want for you to do as our 23rd president.
Having remained in the classroom at Scranton, teaching literature classes throughout your time as president, you were able to stay in touch with the university’s students. We hope you do the same for us. Even though Marquette’s student population is double the size of Scranton, teaching a class every semester would be a surefire way to connect with us.
It is essential we know our president and our president knows us. Talk to us. Ask us about our experiences at Marquette. Let us meet your English bulldog, Jack. A successful president is one who makes efforts to stay interested in his or her university’s students.
A consistent problem that does not cease to trouble Marquette students is the rising tuition rate, which increased $1,360 over last year. Tuition across the board continues to rise faster than the inflation rate.
Scranton’s tuition has remained stable at $34,236 for the past three academic years. Even if you determine Marquette cannot sustain itself without tuition increases, a four-year tuition lock for all students should be discussed as a potential option.
While close to 90 percent of first year students at Marquette are receiving some form of financial aid, there is always a need for more scholarships. You’ve acknowledged the challenge of higher education costs and the need to keep colleges affordable. We expect you to remain proactive on this issue, as more and more students and their families are struggling to afford Marquette.
Wild has continued to support the university’s athletics and the upgrades and renovations made to Valley Fields and the Rec Center. As a Division I school, we need prestigious and top-of-the-line facilities for athletics. And with many years’ worth of basketball glory, we also expect continued and improved academic support to keep athletes eligible to play for Marquette.
Wild has made it clear that LGBTQ discussions will be incorporated into the upcoming year, alongside discussions of academic freedom, shared governance and our Catholic, Jesuit identity. Given your experience with the “Inclusion Initiative,” we hope you can continue what Wild is starting. Bring your involvement in LGBTQ discussions from Scranton to Milwaukee.
Please keep in mind our needs as a collective student body as you finish your last year at Scranton and prepare for a new journey. You’ve set the bar high for yourself with your past successes. We truly look forward to your (and Jack’s) presence on campus.