Rightsizing: A necessary annoyance?

By Branwyn M. Wilkinson

Assistant Opinion Editor

Change sucks.

This is an opinion so many people hold, it might as well be a fact. Change sucks, and that’s what’s going on here at Canisius this semester.

“Rightsizing” has been a buzzword in both issues of The Griffin so far, as well as across campus. But what is it, exactly? Basically, it’s Canisius’ new concentrated effort to get ourselves out of the financial trouble we’ve recently found ourselves in.

The truth is, Canisius is getting smaller. And that means our spending needs to get smaller. Either that, or our tuition needs to get higher, and nobody wants that. Enter Rightsizing: Canisius’ goal to align spending with the actual size of the student body and that student body’s needs.

That all sounds fine on paper, but the actual process is going to be a somewhat painful transition for everyone involved. The recent budget cuts are responsible for most of the changes you’ve probably noticed recently, from fewer options at Iggy’s to the retirement of some of your favorite professors, to the disappearance of the copies of USA Today and The Buffalo News you always used to see scattered around campus.

While this is going to be a difficult transition, and at least someone’s going to be upset about any of the changes occurring around campus, I’m of the opinion that rightsizing is necessary.

There’s a lot of change going on in higher education right now, specifically as the Excelsior Scholarship is being rolled out. Canisius is not the only small private college already seeing changes in enrollment because of the new scholarship. (Although, our enrollment was on the decline even before the Excelsior Scholarship.) Regardless, Canisius is responding to that change in enrollment in order to make sure they can keep providing the unique educational experience we’re all already getting here at Canisius for years to come.

Looking out for the students it serves is inextricably linked with looking out for the College itself, because if Canisius does not look out for itself, it will not be able to look out for its students.

And so far Canisius is being transparent about the changes going on around campus. One need only pick up a copy of The Griffin or talk to a USA Senator to find out why a service or budget has been downsized or cut, and the decisions that went into making that adjustment.

Student leaders have had to make some tough decisions about where to allocate funds. This specifically applies to Connor Rosenecker, USA’s President of Business and Finance, who was responsible for distributing club funding for this school year. While some of the changes made may seem arbitrary, they were made with thought and after considering past spending.

Will these changes prove to be for the best? It’s too soon to tell. Student and student leader apprehension is understandable. We all want what’s best for the organizations we’re a part of and for the College as a whole. And right now those two things don’t seem to be lining up as well as they used to.

Will the rightsizing initiative work to get Canisius’ spending back on track? Or will we end up cutting services, and even professors, that we’ll later regret? As with any change initiative, some amount of error is to be expected. All we can do for now is make the best of it.

And that’s what the Canisius community is doing so far, for the most part. Club leaders, while not thrilled if their budget was cut, are just as committed to providing the same experiences and community to their members as they always have. Some professors who will be retiring in the near future plan on maintaining their offices to keep themselves accessible to students. And USA still wants to hear your voices and concerns.

Is the rightsizing process going to be an enjoyable one? No. There are going to be decisions made and budgets cut that we may not agree with. Some of them, we may be able to change, and some we’ll just have to live with. But hopefully rightsizing will accomplish its goal of allowing Canisius to maintain its identity and continue providing the kind of college education and experience that drew us all here without spending beyond the school’s financial means.

Canisius may not be perfect, but it is someplace special. And that specialness is worth preserving. So if rightsizing is the way to do that, then it’s necessary.

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