STAFF EDITORIAL | Inauguration needs to focus on students

The inauguration of Butler University’s 21st president, Jim Danko, this November, is no doubt a big event, and seems to be growing even bigger by the day.

There’s the 90-minute installation ceremony Nov. 12, academic exhibits, a faculty and staff reception, a student breakfast, concerts, an inaugural gala—and an entire committee dedicated to planning it.

We at The Butler Collegian are excited about the pomp and circumstance as much as the next constituency group at Butler—as long as the administration uses the financial gifts that these events will no doubt bring in to make a significant contribution to improving the student experience.

There’s no problem that the inauguration is being used as a marketing platform for the university to receive financial gifts and recognition. We just want to ensure that students won’t be forgotten in the hype to celebrate a new leader of the university.

Danko has talked a lot about improving the student experience since he’s arrived. He’s mentioned it in interviews with The Butler Collegian, and at the Oct. 5 SGA meeting.

While we understand Danko is taking his time to understand the university before he acts, we’re hoping he will remember the comments he’s made about improving student life and use the inauguration to act as a catalyst to the process of improving it, including residence halls, the library and dining space.

If Danko is serious about taking Butler to the next level, then the proceeds procured through the inaugural process need to be used toward students’ interests, so students can walk away with a high-caliber education.

The inaugural events are supposed to be creative ways for the Butler community to see the impact that the school makes on the community, as well as all of the exciting ways the academic colleges collaborate with each other. The relationship that Butler has with Shortridge Magnet High School is a great example of this.

In the College of Communication’s academic exhibit, the work of student groups will be highlighted. We look forward to the Butler community walk away from the exhibit with a copy or two of the Collegian in hand.

But as nice as these events are, they will lack tangible impact and do little more than brag about the university if the results—including recognition and financial gifts—don’t go toward students.

After all, it’s the students that make these student groups something the Butler community can brag about. It’s the students who make this university function the way it does.

It’s nice to see students involved in the inauguration planning process. No doubt, SGA President Al Carroll and CPA Chair Mike Tirman know a lot about the student experience. That’s part of what makes them qualified for their prestigious roles on campus.

We would have liked to see some student diversity on the inauguration committee. Were there other students qualified to imagine the possibilities of Butler that could have joined Carroll and Tirman to make students have real presence and impact on this committee? We think so.

Even so, Danko, Carroll and Tirman all reached out to students during the Oct. 5 SGA Assembly to contact them in order to submit ideas for the inauguration. We hope students take advantage of this opportunity to make an impact.

This inauguration will yield results that can drastically help improve Butler. Students should make an effort to be involved in the process by responding to leaders’ calls to send in ideas, and when the clock strikes midnight after the inaugural ball, we hope the new administration will start acting to make much-needed improvements to the student experience.

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