TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, April 8, 2004
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Money tops forum discussion
Students, faculty and staff share their views on TCU’s ideal size, student body demographics and residential life.


By Lacey Krause
Staff Reporter
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It all comes down to money.

Funding was a crucial aspect of nearly every issue raised at Wednesday’s town hall meeting. Approximately 65 people, including students, faculty and staff met to discuss “Home, Sweet Home: Living and Learning at TCU.”

The meeting was the fourth of six open forum meetings organized by Chancellor Victor Boschini’s Vision in Action group. Boschini developed the VIA group to design a three-to-five-year strategic plan for TCU’s future.

The university should consider developing existing programs before starting new ones, said Andy Fort, a religion professor. For example, several departments on campus are currently housed in mobile units.

“We have to grow things that are really first-rate,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of trailers at other universities.”

TCU needs to recognize the benefits of all majors and distribute funds accordingly, said Nadia Lahutsky, a religion professor. Lahutsky relayed a story about a former student who felt isolated as a religion major because he felt the university didn’t consider his major as important as other majors, such as business.

“The others seem to be invalidated as a subject of study,” she said. “Somehow our mix has to make it evident that we value all majors.”

The endowment plays a large role in deciding how large the student body should be, said Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs. The university should consider the ratio of endowment dollars per student, he said.

“We need to think about growing our financial base as well,” Mills said.

Tuition only covers part of the cost of attending TCU, said Mary Wrench, a junior advertising/public relations major. The endowment and donations cover remaining costs, she said.

“If we add more students at this time, we’ll need more donations to cover the cost,” she said.

Money plays a major role when students decide whether to live on campus, said Tracy Williams, a senior communication studies major and Colby Hall resident assistant.
Students see that living off-campus can be cheaper and would allow them more freedom, she said.

Students who live on campus are more involved, said Joe Ann May, a financial services employee.

“You do become part of the campus,” she said.

TCU’s mission statement stresses diversity, Mills said, and living on campus allows students to experience that diversity.

“They are engaged with a very diverse group of students,” he said.

Funding is also required to obtain an economically and racially diverse mix of students at the university. TCU may need to award more scholarships to encourage diversity, said Linda Moore, social work professor.

“If we continue what we’re doing with financial aid, we’ll have the same student body we have now,” she said.

Blaise Ferrandino, a music professor, said he agreed that having a mix of students from different backgrounds is essential to TCU’s mission.

“The reason I want a mix is not to be politically correct. It’s important those different viewpoints are brought into the classroom,” he said. “If the academic mission is kept front and center, I think we’ll tend to make the right decisions.”

Crystal Forester/Staff Photograph
Christy Lehew, the Waits Hall director, and her son, Kyle, listen to students, faculty and staff express their concerns about increasing enrollment.
 
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