Letter to the editor: What exactly is KU’s vision?

To the editor:

KU was a great school in 1968-73 when my tuition was $180 per semester plus room/board and supplies. Campus was a third of today’s and easy to navigate. Currently, in-state tuition, all inclusive, is $25,476; out-of-state $42,344; the average loan amount upon graduation is $32,000. That’s unaffordable for many.

Now KU has grandiose plans and lots of money. Within five years, KU will spend over $1.06 billion on construction projects. “A gateway project” will “upgrade” the football stadium and include a “venue to host entertainment events and conferences” near the residential area at 11th and Mississippi Streets where few historical houses remain.

KU Innovation Park is planned for the western side of traffic-clogged Iowa and 23rd, including a 300-unit residential development, parking garage, day care, food-related businesses and convenience stores, labs and research facilities. What impact will this over-sized project have on existing businesses and apartments when there are already numerous empty buildings? How will it affect traffic?

KU is fine with demolishing older structures, including dormitories and a 1900s limestone building, but it has a “capital improvement plan” that includes building a new student health center. Watkins Health Center (1974) can’t be upgraded? Why can’t such buildings be repurposed?

Unnecessary campus enhancements and profit appear to matter more than education. Programs are being cut, particularly in humanities. KU’s football team is uninspiring. Parking lots are removed. Just what is KU’s vision? A city within a city with numerous sprawling campuses? Making and spending money — or providing quality affordable education?

Leslie J. Mills,

Lawrence

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