After months of incessant speculation and plenty of pomp and circumstance, Jim Tressel has arrived. Though it has breathed a bit of life back into the community, with both state and national media turning their attention our way, there is still a palpable feeling of doom and gloom wafting through the community, just in time to usher in Tressel.
The positions of provost, vice president of university advancement, and vice president of finance and administration are vacant. The dean of CLASS will depart from the university shortly, and there is talk that other deans will follow suit. The university faces a significant deficit. State funding has decreased, and enrollment has fallen for three consecutive years.
The university is undergoing a bit of turbulence, no use denying that. But this is hardly the time to strap on a parachute and fling yourself from the aircraft.
We can view administrative changes and educational difficulties as insurmountable challenges, or we can view them as opportunities. Here at The Jambar, we have chosen the latter.
Tressel’s imminent arrival is certainly polarizing. Across the community, he is either a Godsend who is destined to rebuild the university, or the death knell, beckoning the end of YSU as a serious academic institution. While we are hardly ready to make such prodigious and, frankly, unfounded claims — seeing as his tenure has not even begun — one thing is certain: he represents a change for the university. This, in its own right, is good news.
As Ikram Kawaja and Jack Fahey pointed out, Tressel is given the opportunity to fill three of the university’s top administrative positions; he can surround himself with bright minds that share a similar passion for forwarding student success. He can utilize media attention to restore interest in the university. He can parlay his recruiting skills into marketing skills, attracting new students and improving enrollment.
This is not an attempt to whisk away any malcontents or dissent about YSU’s future. As students, we are some of the last people to be blindingly optimistic, and we, more than anyone else in the community, feel YSU’s failures. Extremism is what we deride against. This university has endured much worse, and it did not always do it with an adept fundraiser like Tressel at the helm.
Tressel’s arrival is a response to the cries that the university is stagnating. He brings with him a new administrative landscape and a restored interest in the operations of the university. Tressel certainly must prove himself, but, while we will not cast any false aspirations, the excitement surrounding his arrival certainly seems to forecast an auspicious beginning to his presidency. Hopefully he can prove worthy of the hype.