Coronavirus shook the college world in March with immediate campus shutdowns sending students home to complete their semester online. College officials scrambled for the next month desperately trying to preserve their ability to keep the student's money. And keep it they did, wrongfully so.
Why is it wrong? Because they didn't fulfill the obligations for which they were paid. The learning experience was greatly diminished. We call that "over-sold, under-delivered"...not exactly a novel concept!
The three months following were spent delivering sound-bites designed to appease their customer-base...fend off the wolves!
It all began with Brown Univ. President Paxson proclaiming- "The reopening of campuses in the fall should be a national priority!"
I safely say that's her priority. Our national priority should be to make college accessible and affordable to mainstream America while delivering the desired outcomes of the students. Can I say—jobs?
However, college officials have made it clear that their intention is to reopen campuses in the fall. They know that once the semester begins, they've hooked the money. They've become consumed with how to do this, not if they should be doing this.
Here's my point. College officials have spent four months working to protect the business enterprise over protecting the student's interest.
I support the creative solutions being devised. The combination of live and online study for classes gives flexibility to the student. After all, this is the future of college education, so get used to it.
But the elephant has now entered the room. With the fall semester scheduled to begin in a month, we have student-restrictions being drafted, college sports getting canceled, college-towns voicing concerns, professors petitioning their objections, and parents unwilling to pay full price for the lesser experience.
Everyone is wondering how we're going to do this, not if we should be doing this.
The reality is that a student's on-campus experience will be torturous, chaotic, and fragmented to no one's satisfaction.
Does anyone think that a student wants to be told they can't go out, be subjected to a nose swab every two weeks, have to pre-order their meals, get their temperature taken everywhere they go, and be quarantined for two weeks when a friend tests positive? No.
What's the true value here relative to its cost?
What I see right now is a compromise-mandate placed upon the student/ parent, but not the college.
Now's the time for colleges to rise to the same level of standard that we expect of ourselves. That's simply to do the right thing and do it for the right reason.
For the first time in years, they need to listen to and accommodate the interests of us, their customers.
To finish, I was listening to a UNC official a few days ago. She said- "We now have to deal with customers when we prefer to deal with students."
Imagine that...they have to pay attention to us. That makes them uncomfortable.
Parents, what do you think, should we be sending kids back to college and what are you willing to pay?
If you'd like to hear more about this, I'll be hosting a class next week on Zoom...stay tuned.