My first two academic years were spent in a two-story building on Graphics Way in Lewis Center, the Delaware Center — Ohio State Marion’s branch campus. Without question, that branch helped mold my vulnerable, adolescent self into the more adult version I am today.
Reminiscing about what all the faculty and students did for me is not going to change the reality of what is happening to the facility now. On Feb. 9, the community was formally told that the Delaware Center would be closing its doors by the end of the academic year.
Since then, The Lantern has had three stories covering the events that have come to pass. Yet there are a slew of unanswered questions, leaving the faculty and students of the DC in a whirlwind.
A contributing factor to the dismay of the community is the fact that the decision of the closing had been known for more than a year by the higher powers of our university.
Chronicling and making sense of the reasoning behind this decision has not come easy for anyone, most notably the faculty — the band of individuals thought to have all the answers — representing us up north in a single building along Route 23.
If history has taught us anything, it is that enrollment has only increased at OSUM’s DC since opening in 2001. This quarter, more than 800 students were enrolled at the DC and the courses on the master schedule have appropriately multiplied.
So one might ask why the branch is closing. In short, answers are not concrete — the end of the 10-year lease might be a reason that sparked it, or the “fact” (as presented by our mysterious university hierarchy) that the competition posed by the Columbus State Community College satellite campus down the road is projected to leave them in the dust.
When is it ever ethical to revoke a student’s choice of paying the higher-end in tuition for a better education without first providing time to consult with them? There are students that would rather not have a community college on their transcript.
The most emphatic of reasons for the closing is, as OSU President E. Gordon Gee stated in replies to the e-mails of concerned students, “a unique opportunity to collaborate (with CSCC) on course offerings to better serve those in area.”
Devoid of any competition in the area, enrollment at CSCC’s Delaware branch is likely to increase. OSU will surely prosper in this collegiate relationship, why all the worry? Right?
Well, it is proposed that OSU will be given five classrooms in the facility to teach only courses not already offered by CSCC, and if CSCC later summons the resources to offer a course OSU is teaching, the Buckeyes must abandon it to the Cougars.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say the plan for OSU at CSCC’s branch is designed to ultimately fail.
Alternatively, imagine if the DC was just shut down without this proposed collaboration with CSCC? The kindling of opposition ignited within the community right now would more so be a fiery engulfment shedding light to the massive question mark tailing the ethics.
Is this simply an easier way to put down the unwanted family dog? Questions are inevitably going to be more plentiful than answers in the shutting down of an educational institution that worked wonders for thousands of students in the past 10 years.
The most pressing issue is the collateral damage. Faculty and students now have little time to plan for their futures, especially the 11 percent of Somalian students (28 percent of the students enrolled are minorities according to Louis Hominga, the DC admissions officer).
The English department had created a program called NNW (Non-Native Writers), an approach that mixed non-natives with natives in English courses to help the minorities familiarize themselves with the academic culture. NNW has better prepared the Somalian student population for the remainder of their collegiate career.
Interviews with students that attended the DC such as Barqadle Alibarre, a third-year in biology, highlighted the mutual concern of current and future students being revoked the opportunity to receive the “one-on-one interaction” given by the English department.
The program will now cease to exist if the closing is finalized. Are the head honchos of our beloved university even aware of this? Do the underprepared not deserve a chance when they want to succeed?
Gee has a poster in his office with a quote that reads, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
Why is the student petition, engraved with hundreds of signatures, being treated as an irrelevance? Should it not be the duty of our university to hear the apprehensive student voices before finalizing such a decision?