We at The Rambler are excited to see all the recent aesthetic improvements around Texas Wesleyan’s campus. But, we are also becoming increasingly concerned about Wesleyan’s financial priorities.
In Fall 2013, Wesleyan held a ground breaking celebration to commemorate the beginning of phase one in the campus improvement project.
The entire project consists of four primary phases that are concurrent.
The $1.8 million East Rosedale Street improvement includes adding streetlights and resurfacing the sidewalks and crosswalks for safer pedestrian travel. The $3 million Central Texas Conference Service Center will be a hub for leadership training and support, mission support services and evangelism. The $1.3 million entryway or the “Front Door” to Wesleyan will include a clock tower, but most importantly, a striking entrance to Wesleyan’s campus. Last is the $400,000 Business Incubator Center, which will serve as a Wesleyan student hub for business advising and research.
The total expenditure for these projects is $6.6 million.
We at the Rambler agree with President Slabach, who has been quoted in saying, “It’s a very positive development in terms of student recruitment.”
But, our current concerns are about what happens after new students have been recruited. And, what about current students, faculty, and staff?
On Thursday, Feb. 27, Wiley Lindsey, administrative assistant to chair and faculty of Arts and Letters, along with a Wesleyan faculty member had to carry a Wesleyan student who relies on a wheelchair down the stairs of Polytechnic United Methodist Church because the elevator was out of order. Again.
“Not only do several professors depend on the elevator, but people like that student in a wheelchair that was stuck on the second floor [depend on the elevator also],” Lindsey said. “I remember the student mentioning that they had a test to take, at that moment, somewhere across campus. As a fellow professor and I carried [the student] down the stairs, we were just thankful we didn’t fall or trip. The university is supposed to accommodate everyone, but that elevator goes out frequently from what I hear. In fact, a professor got stuck in the elevator the same week.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Dr. Linda Carroll, Texas Wesleyan professor of English, was trapped in the elevator.
“It was only about 15 to 20 minutes,” Carroll said later in cheerful spirits.
But, 15 to 20 minutes is arguably a substantial amount of time to be confined alone in a small space with little to no idea of what is happening on the other side of metal doors.
“The elevator problem is just the start of issues that the PUMC building is experiencing,” Lindsey said. “There are many more problems that need assistance and/or attention. The church does need attention.”
Wesleyan’s maintenance facilities advised faculty and staff that there would be no heat in PUMC for the remainder of the semester on the same day as the latest elevator incident. As a result, a limited number of space heaters were placed throughout PUMC. This caused repeated circuit failures in various sections of PUMC, including classrooms and administrative offices.
According to the National Weather Service website, temperature highs for Feb. 24 – 27 did not reach above 60 degrees and low temperatures were barely above freezing.
In addition to the elevator, electrical and heating problems, students, faculty and staff endure frequent plumbing problems in PUMC. Over the summer, a restroom plumbing issue caused significant damage to several offices on the second floor. The floor also affected an area on the first floor.
The flood forced several professors to pack up and move into unaffected offices. Meanwhile, professors had to tally estimated costs of damaged belongings.
Since the summer fiasco, the restrooms of PUMC have been closed numerous times, which results in students, faculty and staff having to cross campus in order to relieve themselves.
While we at the Rambler believe the aesthetic improvements are benefitual to the campus and community, we also believe that campus functionality and the ability to receive our education without being stuck in an elevator, shivering in dark classrooms, and running across campus to the nearest restroom is more important.