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Editorial 02/03/23: Strategic Planning Committee An Opportunity

The Strategic Planning and Prioritization Committee announced by President Steve Stoute last December will be meeting this semester to produce, as their title implies, a strategic planning document to guide the college over the next decade. The damages to Lyons Hall kind of upstaged Stoute’s big announcement, but it actually underscores why the committee could be important.

The renovation of Lyons Hall provides a concrete canvas to imagine what we’d like to emphasize at Canisius. Stoute wants to increase spontaneous interactions between students and faculty, perhaps by making Lyons — the home to college admissions — more of a hub for current students, in order to make Canisius seem a more welcoming place for prospective ones.

Some have suggested cosmetic changes to chairs and other furniture in order to create a more comfortable atmosphere. For example, students weren’t really found hanging out in Lyons Hall the way they are in the Old Main lounges. We’ve also heard of an idea to put a coffee shop on the first floor. While this is obviously easier said than done, it seems like a good concept to have students and faculty at Lyons besides those seen hurrying to the building’s various classrooms and offices.

The more important choices will be what type of classrooms are created. Most of the computers in the third-floor classrooms were destroyed, so even the type of computers will have to be decided upon. Obviously the SPPC won’t be going into such granular details, but decisions about whether to keep the same admissions set-up should be thought about right now while construction is still going on.

According to a Feb. 2 email, the SPPC is meeting today from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Science Hall Commons to solicit “initial input that will help determine some of the key objectives in the plan; we will provide a survey immediately after the forum for those who cannot attend to provide their recommendations to help determine strategic objectives.” The next meeting is March 2 to “review the pillars and objectives developed thus far to ensure coverage,” and the final meeting is April 3 to present the final draft to the campus community.

We encourage anybody with complaints about the college’s direction to voice their opinion to this committee. Committees are obviously not an ideal solution to every problem, and this committee is not binding on the college, but give it a try.

We understand that faculty, as non-unionized employees of the college, do not always want to speak out in public. We as a student newspaper are in a better position to challenge the college. But casting anonymous aspersions on administrators over email to student editors does little to correct policy. If the college is out of line, we’re more than willing to say so without being pressured to.

Talking to this committee is a better method than airing grievances through our paper. There’s not a lot of love lost between us and former Griffin editor and Canisius President John Hurley, but one thing we can agree on is that our job isn’t to take the faculty’s side in every dispute between them and administration.

It’s certainly easy to be cynical, but this committee is an opportunity to force college leaders to respond and reflect on criticisms in a more organized, accountable way. The results of the process will be outlined in the final document to be released to the public, and we’ll do our best to track their discussions over the coming semester through interviews with members of the committee. -PH

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