INTerrupted Silence Vol3No2

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Transcript of INTerrupted Silence Vol3No2

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    2 ACTIVELY ENGAGED INTELLECTUALS ~INTELLECTUALLY ENGAGED ACTIVISTS

    GOT TUITION? NOT FOREVER!SOMEONE TELL THE PRESIDENT!

    By: Dana Jabri

    DePaul University, as a private, Catholic, urban,

    and Vincentian institution, has an importantreputation and image that it needs to cultivate,just like any other university. This image isconstructed in hopes that the universitycontinuously increases its enrollment from oneacademic year to the next. DePaul is a heavilytuition-driven institution which means that, unlikea school like Harvard University that receivesbillions of dollars in endowments, it dependsentirely on student tuition for revenue. In2012-2013, DePauls endowment funds onlyconsisted of 1% of a total revenue ofapproximately 560 million dollars. In light of thismodel, DePaul has continuously increased tuitionby 2.5% for the past three years. As a student atDePaul, I refuse to support the continuation ofthis model in the future. There must be ways forthe administration to bring students, faculty, andstaff together to have frank conversations onpossible solutions and the future of thisinstitution.

    As students, staff, or faculty, we should know thatwhen enrollment drops, even if it is by a fraction,consequences are inevitable. An expected domino

    effect of hiring freezes, departmental budget cuts,and increased tuition are set in place to keepthings under control. So, you may ask, what is thepurpose of all of this? As students, it is our role toask the big questions, especially if enrollment isdecreasing and the universitys revenue is notincreasing. How do we know if the university isutilizing its resources efficiently? Or perhapsefficiently enough to continue to provide studentsand staff with the necessary support to ensure thatthe universitys reputation bounces back andbrings enrollment up again? The university has

    continuously distributed and allocated resourcesand revenue to renovate and build infrastructure.This has transformed DePaul into an institutionthat is modern while operating in a corporatefashion. While the university prides itself on itsVincentian mission, I ask: What would St.Vincent do?

    I Spy: The Investment Trend

    Unfortunately, in order to notice that misused and

    falling revenues has been an on-going issue, one

    needs to be around the people who are havingthese conversations the higher-ups, like DonPope Davis the former Provost, David Kalsbeekthe Senior Vice President of EnrollmentManagement & Marketing (EM&M), and theStudent Government Association, just to name afew. The real questions are how accessible havethese administrators been to students and how dothey get to hear our suggestions? At this universitythe proper forum would be SGA, but that wouldstill leave SGA to be the liaison between theadministration and the student body.

    This was my precise call to action. Spring quarterof my sophomore year I ran for the College ofLiberal Art & Social Sciences SGA Senator chair,hoping it would allow me to leverage a newnetwork of students and give me access touniversity administrators and officials. From myexperience thus far, this has been true but notevery student can sit on SGA. I am fortunateenough to participate in SGAs meetings as avoting member where I can voice my concerns,but the degrees of separation between studentsand administrators seem to only get wider. This

    means that, as students, we have to get our handsa bit dirty in order to gather, collect, andsynthesize the necessary information tounderstand why tuition rates continue to increase,and why our university has not been attractingmore students.

    After spending some time looking into theuniversitys publicly accessible financial budget, Inoticed two important trends: the increase of newhires and the dramatic hike in compensation ratesof the top-paid positions at this university. For thefirst trend, DePauls Institutional Research &Market Analytics (IRMA) analysis shows thatnew hiring at DePaul rose by 20% between thefiscal years of 2007 and 2012. Most importantly,the allocation of new hires has beendisproportionate between professional staff andfaculty. Full-time faculty hires increased by slightlyless than 11%, while professional staff increasedby over 25%. To my dismay, the Board ofTrustees decided to financially support the officeof EM&M by allocating the largest number of

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    ACTIVELY ENGAGED INTELLECTUALS ~INTELLECTUALLY ENGAGED ACTIVISTS 3

    to this department. A 62% growth in positions inthis unit has led it to house over 300 employees,making it the second largest unit in the universityin terms of employee numbers.

    The second trend I noticed is the continuousincrease in compensation to some of the top-paid

    professional staff. An analysis of some of thesepositions overall salary from year to year is quiteshocking. Take for an example, the newly hiredmens basketball coach, Oliver Purnell, whoreplaced Gerald Wainwright. Wainwrights totalcompensation in the academic year of2009-2010 was $656,086. Purnells totalcompensation in the academic year of2010-2011 was over three times as large:$2,192,385. This analysis suggests that, if DePaulis truly committed to fiscal sustainability, it shouldreconsider where it is allocating its limited

    resources.The Future of our Tuition: Where is itgoing?

    I can reflect as a current DePaul student andstudent worker, that I made the consciousdecision to attend DePaul because of its missionand academic program. I did not choose toattend DePaul because of an advertised brochureor pamphlet that presented colorful yet sterileinformation. I also did not come to DePaul sothat my tuition money could be used to fund a 70

    million dollar investment in a new Events Center.As students, we need to let administrators know

    that we are not satisfied with the way that ourtuition money is being used. It should not behard for a student who is pursuing a career inacademia, the liberal arts fields, or any field forthat matter, to find research scholarships. We areconstantly told that there are no universityresources to help students pay for lodging

    expenses to present at international conferences,or for funds that help increase resources tosupport our professors (like more subscriptions toresearch databases). Why is DePaul not providingmore tools for students to grow academically?

    My experience as an activist has taught me thatasking questions is never enough. We have thefacts. It is time that we begin organizingourselves. Whether that may mean starting letter-writing campaigns or finding alternatives togetting access to the resources we deem

    necessary. Being able to collect and analyze thedata presented in this article has made thingscrystal clear for me. The poet Amir Sulaimansaid in his poem Heavens Falling, But Ill tellyou a secret. That power is mine and that power is yours.But they fed you a lie, and said all of that power issomewhere up in the sky. Somewhere up in the sky. Thatswhy I told them liars the sky is mine. When I hearstories of students struggling to pay tuition andworking hard not to pull out extra loans, I amreminded of the strength in their sacrifices. Andfor this struggle, I will continue to advocate for

    truth and justice for student voices need to beheard.

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    4 ACTIVELY ENGAGED INTELLECTUALS ~INTELLECTUALLY ENGAGED ACTIVISTS

    Despite the discomfort of hearingvagina over and over again, it washard not to laugh at the absurdityand the truth of what was beingpresented.

    This theme of finding humorthrough our discomfort continuedthroughout the various monologues,which were all performed by fullyclothed women. The VaginaMonologues was first written by EveEnsler in 1996, and various additionsand adjustments have been madesince. All of the monologues arebased on stories of different womenwho came to know their womanhoodt h r o u g h t h e i r v a g i n a . T h emonologues explore the mystery andsatisfaction of discovering ones ownvagina, the journey to loving andrespecting ones vagina, and how tonot rely on a man for pleasure, whichwas loudly applauded by thepredominantly female audience.More sober ing performancesdescribe how violence enacted uponthe vagina is used as an instrument ofdomination in the context of war,and discuss the vagina as the site ofpsychological trauma as a result ofdomestic abuses.

    The unflinching detail and intimatediscussion of the vagina occasionallymade me uncomfortable, even as awoman. I could not help but notice,as I looked around in slight distress,that my feelings seemed to bemagnified tenfold for the smallpercentage of males in the audience.Some men were sunk way down intheir seats with their arms crossedover their chests, while others gavetheir friends incredulous looks.Doubtless, it must have been difficultfor males who live in a patriarchalsociety to be confronted with untoldstories, both good and bad, of what itmeans to be a woman. But it washeartening to see that, although few,men were thereeven if it was justto support a friend or girlfriend.

    This got me thinking, what couldhave possibly sparked their interest insomething so boldly titled The VaginaMonologues, a play that seems to begeared towards a female audience?

    I found an answer to this question

    during a very powerful momenttowards the end of the play as one ofthe actresses, about to perform hermonologue, asked all victims ofsexual violence to stand. The roomremained still and quiet as severalpeople stood. Then, she asked thosewith relatives or friends who werevictims of sexual violence to stand aswell. It was shocking to see how thenumber of people standing grew