Paging our President

It is an unspoken agreement among Allegheny students that the highlight of attending this prestigious institution is the occasional e–mail from our dear President Mullen.

Each of these e–mails is thoroughly read and re–read and then quoted fondly amongst the student body. How can they not be when these e–mails conclude with statements such as “We have a tremendous wind at our back”?

The most recent e–mail from our fearless leader, which I am sure you have all read and memorized, includes a detailed summary of the “Combinations 2020” plan, comprised of a meticulous rephrasing of the idea that there will be some sort of change in the future, possibly after we have all graduated, and there will be ideas of some sort involved in this change.

All of this will almost definitely include things such as Allegheny College and various well-known acronyms, such as the AEC and the SAC.

The e–mail eloquently explains that this is unquestionably a good thing which we should all find desirable, as exemplified by phrases that compliment the student body for helping out with it.

“Our strategic plan has grown from an inclusive process that could only succeed in an environment of trust and collegiality,” the e–mail states. “That Allegheny is such an environment is a testimony to each and every one of you.”

I am not quite as brainy as our charismatic president; I have to admit that I stumbled over these two sentences just a bit.

Why yes, there are many trustworthy and responsible people here at Allegheny College, and President Mullen is a sweetheart to point that out –– but did I miss the part where we were part of the plan? Maybe it was in one of those e–mails, which everyone reads religiously –– or maybe it is due to my general freshman–ness that I have no idea what the “Combinations 2020” plan is.

Luckily, this holy document was promised to be online shortly.

Again, I guess I have only my first–year status to blame, because I am sure everyone else on campus is completely in the know as to exactly where online it will show up, as this detail was not included in the e–mail. After all, we have all learned at some point that “correlation does not equal causation,” and therefore the fact that my various Internet searches yield no results has no plausible relation to the idea that this hallowed manuscript is not floating somewhere on the interwebs as promised.

Ignoring earlier, mildly meretricious statements, my favorite sentence occurred in the second to last paragraph: “In order to take advantage of the momentum behind the strategic plan, the Board approved of 3.76% increase in tuition for next year, as recommended by FFC.”

Curious as to what gave the “FFC” such divine authority over our bank accounts, I decided to employ my detective skills and my 21 century upbringing. (By which I mean I Googled “FFC.”)

While it is probably not either a Fitness Formula Club or a First Family Church, I decided that, after refining my search to include Allegheny College, the Allegheny Finance and Facilities Committee was probably something I should have known about.

For those of you out there who, like me, aren’t in the know, the Finance and Facilities Committee is a committee that is made of up faculty, students and staff which works closely with the student government to discuss budget issues.

The primary reasons for increasing tuition are an increase in financial aid for need–based students, “external factors” (according to the minutes from an old ASG meeting), and building costs that are supposedly not coming out of tuition at all.

3.76 percent is the equivalent of around $1, 249 per year, assuming that the current tuition matches the online price tag of $33,240.

Yes, we all knew, grudgingly, that the cost of tuition would rise, but this is not a small number. For many of us, this is an extra summer job, a reduced meal plan next year, and that much more added stress at home.

What could be the reason for this massive increase in tuition? If they are giving out higher scholarships, is there a way that I can totally get in on that? Does it have anything to do with $60,000 concerts?

No matter; the momentum behind this super-awesome super–inclusive and super–strategic plan is not something we can afford to lose. If the FFC recommends that I spend my summer nights delivering pizza to raise money for this super–cool plan, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.