Letter to the Editor—Dan Arndt


It’s my first year at Wichita State, and I’m still getting used to some of the words I hear thrown around. “WuShock,” “RSC,” “Ablah.” But there’s a word I do hear a lot of, in the pages of The Sunflower and in the mouths of WSU’s administrators: “innovation”.

That seems to be the buzzword of the year. But it never seems like it gets used correctly. Instead, the university has decided to commit itself to a wholly invented, technocratic, and entirely soulless definition of the word “innovation.”

Rather than a commitment to new ideas, new creations, and new thinking; the word “innovation” seems to simply be code for dumping money into the coffers of billion dollar companies while forcing students into subpar, overpriced housing. It’s become a code word for jacking up student fees to build a redundant YMCA that none of the students being billed will get to use. And it’s a code word for giving university property away to Charles Koch’s son and his wife’s elementary school for the wealthy.

It doesn’t mean funding a literary journal, Mikrokosmos, that has continues to find new ways to reach artists in Wichita and around the world. It doesn’t mean funding a newspaper, The Sunflower, that doesn’t just report the news, it works to change the university for the better. And it doesn’t mean paying the teachers of basic college classes a living wage, nor does it mean funding the departments those classes are a part of.

A truly innovative campus commits itself to ALL forms of innovation, in ALL of its departments. And until it does, all of WSU’s talk of innovation will ring hollow, and it will quickly be eclipsed by universities that do.

—Dan Arndt is a student at Wichita State University. 

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