Staff Ed: Campus community in jeopardy due to enrollment increase
By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF
In recent years, students at the University of Mary Washington have become increasingly engaged in important issues surrounding administrative decisions that effect us all. To list a few, in the past students have expressed their displeasures towards administration regarding the investment and exploitation of fossil fuels on campus (DivestUMW), the lack of diversity on campus (where the name ‘University of Mostly Whites’ stems from), and in more recent times, the newly announced tuition raise for the next academic year.
These controversies have continued to spark frustrations around campus. However administrative decisions within the 2015-2016 academic year have brought on a new, rather alarming concern for students that the university has continually kept under the radar.
According to the university’s website, this year’s freshman class was the largest admitted to the school in its 108-year existence. The entering class of 1,001 first year students may seem like an extraordinary achievement, maybe indicating the school’s rising popularity on the national scene however there is a deeper significance to this number that students are now beginning to voice their concerns for. The decision of the school to widen its parameters of admitting students may be detrimental to the academic and communal integrity of the institution.
Over the past few years, the university’s acceptance rate has noticeably increased leaving the community to wonder why.
What the university hides is that only a few years ago, the size of freshman class was so minuscule to the point that many first year students were being offered single style living options. To simply put it, admissions could not fill rooms. To boot, the transfer and drop-out rates within the school was also a rising concern.
It seems that in an effort to never repeat those once harsh realities, the school has increasingly been lowering the standards of admission. Today, students around campus are seeing a conspicuous gap of the quality of students both academic and personality-wise that are being admitted and to simply put it, who don’t care to be here.
While the school is proud to announce statistics such as the record number of enrollment this past year, where are the statistics that show the accepted GPA and SAT scores of incoming classes? Why are these statistics not being shown off to the community?
Students are seeing clear signs that the university is making less efforts to admit deserving individuals, because the quality of students entering the community have noticeably sank. While the school is so concerned with lowering transfer and drop rates, lowering admission standards and permitting undeserving students into our community is not solving those issues.
What admissions may consider the rise in enrollment as them succeeding at their jobs, students see as poor judgment and lack of care towards the admissions process.
It is frustrating to be a part of a student community where other students are more interested in participating at parties than in the classroom. It is also frustrating that the entire student body is aware of certain individuals who promote themselves as drug dealers and constantly harass women on campus, yet the school does little to hold these students accountable for their actions.
When a student is notorious around campus for being these things and when it is obvious that more and more students are coming to our community seeking parties instead of meaningful degrees, it is time admissions change.
Because admissions is blinded by the fact that this past year brought the largest enrollment of freshmen in UMW’s history, what they fail to see is the lack of quality some students have who enter the community.
So like before with DivestUMW, or the frustration brought forth by the continual raise in tuition, it is important for those students who wish to keep UMW a community of higher learning and a place of strong community, we must speak out to the school over these issues.
As a student body, we must not settle for standards admissions settle for. A conversation between students and administration needs to begin and we need to express our concerns for students who are being admitted and who bring a poor reputation to our community.