Faculty senate raises concerns over proposed YMCA
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Less than a week after student senate voiced opposition to the university’s plan to bring a YMCA to Innovation Campus, the university is said to be moving forward with the plan anyway.
President John Bardo said in a statement Tuesday that a campus YMCA is “Still under active consideration.”
Faculty Senate President Bayram Yildirim spoke to the rest of the faculty with updates about the Y after a meeting with President John Bardo’s executive team.
“I learned we are still pursuing this idea,” he said Monday.
“My question to you,” Yildirim said addressing the faculty senate, “Is how do you feel about a YMCA on campus?”
Jay Price, a senator from the history department, said that a Y on campus would be a community facility.
“Why should WSU students foot the bill for a community facility that benefits a private developer?” Price said. “That doesn’t seem very fair.”
Other faculty did not think there was enough concrete information regarding the proposal to make a decision.
“We need to see more numbers,” George Dehner, a senator from the history department, said. “It seems a little bit abstract. I think before we can vote on it as a faculty senate we need a lot more concrete information about what we’re endorsing, what we’re not endorsing.
“I’ve gotten most of my information from the paper,” he said. “But if we’re going to vote on it, I’m not voting on what I read in the paper. I want to have a lot more detailed information about the economics.”
“These facilities are important enough to the future of the university that I’ve asked members of our team to keep exploring the idea despite a vote last week by Student Government Association to oppose it,” Bardo said in the statement.
Bardo’s decision to move forward with the planning process left faculty questioning if their voice would even matter in the eyes of the administration.
“You wonder how much difference it’s going to make,” Dan Close, a senator from the Elliott School of Communication, said. “It didn’t seem to matter what the student government association thought.”
“Do we have a real say in whether this thing gets built or not? What you heard today from PET was, full steam ahead, right?” Close said.
Susan Castro, a senator from the philosophy department, said that it is Wichita State’s job as a state institution to provide education as cheaply as possible.
“The Y tends to build really fancy, expensive buildings (with) very high fees,” Castro said. “It is really contrary to our mission that we are going to have these large fees for something that is not academic.”
Yildirim said that while the final decision is Bardo’s to make, it is important that faculty senate provide their input to the president.