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Letter to the Editor: ‘Building a higher standard’

‘Building a higher standard’
Dear Editor,
I am a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and am excited to continue my education here.  I am concerned about the university administration, however, as they have displayed a history of muddled priorities and reckless spending.
A few years ago, UNH made the controversial and expensive decision to rebrand itself with an ironically generic new logo.  The previous logo depicted an iconic building that was not only unique but portrayed strong academic values.  How could the university justify spending so much money on this change when there were academic buildings in disrepair?  Why was the university not rebranding itself by using this money to work toward expanding the range of classes offered, supporting scholarships or youth summer programs, or increasing community outreach?
Recently, the university received an incredibly generous bequest from a former library staff member.  While $100,000 was invested in the library, the university plans to spend $1 million on a scoreboard.  Instead of strengthening academic programs and improving learning opportunities for its students, UNH invested in a sporting accessory.  This is an appallingly careless way to spend such a wonderful gift.  UNH is an academic institution that should be striving to improve its research and educational reputation.
In the future, I want potential employers to respect my educational background and I fear they will not.  I want to be proud of my school and encourage others to attend, but recent administrative decisions have demonstrated that UNH does not put the education of its students first and foremost. UNH has consistently prioritized sports and recreation above their primary role of education. I do not feel as comfortable promoting this university and am unlikely to make any donations in the future, as I would not trust them to be spent wisely.
I am saddened that UNH has recently been recognized in the media, not for academic excellence but for frivolous spending.  I have read many disparaging comments and feel disappointed that this is how the public perceives my university.  In the future, I hope that UNH will focus on building a higher standard for its academic programs to better promote educational excellence.  I encourage UNH to focus on innovations to expand and improve itself, rather than invest in superficial matters.   Perhaps a better way to have used the $1 million would be to add it to the endowment in order to assist students with overwhelming tuition costs and the cost of books.  The university has a responsibility to its students and must make education their number one priority.
Margot Popecki
graduate student

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