The Record will not publish again until next fall; but still, news will continue to pop up on campus until then. However, there are at least five unfolding stories that I believe the Goshen College community needs to continue following, even when our weekly newspaper takes a summer sabbatical.
1. It seems likely that our campus can expect to see Mennonite Education Agency’s final decision about whether Jim Brennman will continue into a third four-year term as president. No official date has been set for the announcement, but I believe we expect we will hear something along these lines before the board of directors meets this summer.
2. The college’s effort to become a Hispanic Serving Institution is another story that could affect a lot of the GC community and it will likely continue to be news in the future. I’d say it is good news. I am hopeful that 25-percet of our student body will identify as Hispanic in the next few years. We’ll be better off more culturally diverse.
With that shift in student body, I believe we’ll expect more conversations on race and culture. We should be ready for more listening.
3. Some students and alumni might be hopeful to see the board of directors make a statement on GC’s employment community standards, or the hiring policy, after its summer meeting. Whether the board choses to act or not, we can at least to expect students to continue speaking up on this topic.
4. The work that a group of students is doing to push the college toward divesting endowment funds from environmentally harmful companies could also show up as news in the coming months. However, that story might be overpowered by larger events regarding institutional finances.
5. As the article on this week’s front-page reports, fitting GC’s annual expenses into a feasible budget is moving over campus like a looming dark cloud, and it’s bringing administrative cuts after commencement. Until enrollment reaches a level that is financially viable for the institution’s activities, this campus will have to endure some hardships.
It seems like we can only speculate what is to come in terms of future cuts and changes. Many have already imagined a worst-case scenario, but I believe we can still hope for an alternative despite our fears.
I hope that our decision-makers will choose to be transparent about where those cuts and changes are made. Without their communication, the rest of campus will uncomfortably wait in uncertainty for the worst to come. We need to hear what those decision-makers have to say in order to trust them.
After some of the president’s council and MEA met with students two weeks ago to answer questions about the employment community standards the campus saw our leaders’ attempt to clear up ambiguity around the topic. That was a positive move from our leaders.
Like all tormenting storms, though, this budget crisis will eventually pass.
Goshen College is guided by a strong set of core values and it’s been obvious to me from all of the campus activism that occurred this semester that plenty of people care about this place. After all, GC has become home for many.
Though the future seems unclear, I fully expect to visit an even better GC in years to come. And for the record, I can’t wait to come back.