You may not be aware of this, but Knox is in the midst of a “strategic planning” process. (If you missed the most recent update, that’s because Dean Behling emailed it on Flunk Day.) This process, dubbed “Knox 2018,” is essentially articulation of lofty goals and priorities that will ultimately become a fundraising tool for the college. In light of the two Knox 2018 forums this week, we decided to ask ourselves: What should be Knox’s top priorities? You can weigh in by writing a letter-to-the-editor, letting us know on Facebook and Twitter or attending this week’s open forums — Thursday, May 1 at 4 p.m. or Friday, May 2 at 11 a.m. in SMC 110.
Highlight student health
Knox College boasts its status as a residential, four-year college that caters to the needs of its students. Knox lacks a clear, committed focus to student health an integral part of student life on a residential campus.
The health center’s affiliation with OSF St. Mary’s hinders students from receiving the access to birth control and Plan B they deserve, and students often leave the health center feeling incorrectly diagnosed or unhappy with the sometimes hour-long waits.
The health center should focus on offering accurate, thorough care to students and their health. If student health is lacking, campus life wavers and Knox’s status as a small, liberal arts campus that tends to students and their needs falters. It would behoove Knox to focus on the health and safety of its students as a top priority.
— Kate Mishkin, Co-News Editor
Ensure fiscal stability
It’s certainly not the sexiest answer but I think it really is the most important. Almost all of the campus’ other problems, from aging infrastructure to gaps in student services, really all stem from the basic fact that there is simply not enough money to go around.
Luckily, I think that the current administration is well aware of that, and while one can quibble over the details of how the gap is being closed, it’s hard to argue with the overall direction.
The great challenge going forward will be ensuring that this school can be in the black every year while not losing anything essential to a Knox education, and there is no magic wand that anyone can wave that will solve that dilemma.
— Matt Barry, Co-News Editor
Prioritize the needs of current students
The college should prioritize the needs of current students. These are the people who have committed themselves to the institution.
Choosing the right place to live — and the right people to live with — for four years is not taken lightly, and neither is the bill of almost $50,000 for each of those years. The college claims “a supportive and egalitarian environment” in its mission statement. It hosts forums. It sends out emails and surveys.
If the college cannot listen to students and make changes as needed, then the college is failing not only those students, but also itself.
The goal of fostering “a sense of competence, confidence and proportion that will enable us to live with purpose and to contribute to the well-being of others” is important, and it can only be reached if students feel that their needs are being met.
— Chelsea Embree, Digital Editor
Protect our greatest asset, Knox College faculty
Earlier this year, this Editorial Board wrote that the college’s greatest asset is its faculty. To me, that hasn’t changed — and that asset needs protecting.
The institution cannot maintain its status as a premier liberal arts school without a strong academic core, and that core will implode without the brilliant and engaging group of professors about whom we boast.
The old we-pay-faculty-less-because-it’s-cheap-to-live-in-Galesburg argument will only last so long. It behooves us to ask: Is there a tipping point at which faculty members are discouraged from staying at Knox?
— Charlie Gorney, Editor-in-Chief
Personal accountability and higher standards
It’s easy to run this college like a business: to manipulate, or bury statistics, to disempower vulnerable populations and write them off as “liabilities” or throw rhetoric or a task force at student concerns.
Students rarely completely know and understand their rights, leaving us particularly vulnerable to unethical and/or illegal treatment, especially from authority figures. This risk increases if you’re part of a traditionally vulnerable population, like low-income or first-generation students who are likely uncomfortable and inexperienced in maneuvering through the infamous red-tape.
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, regardless of the investigation’s findings, should make every member of the Knox community rethink the kind of environment they’ve helped perpetuate through our intentional and careless actions. Most important though, we should ensure every voice is heard on campus, so no one feels forced to turn to investigations or courtrooms. We should demand better of ourselves and one another not because it’s smart, but because it’s right.
— Samantha Paul, Discourse Editor