At UD, the future is never

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The phrase “in the future” gets thrown around a lot at the University of Dallas, by administration especially. Everything is in the future — renovations, new dorm houses, financial solvency. The big problem with the future is, it never seems to come around. The future at UD is forever just too far away to grasp, and when we fail to grasp it, it seems to get tossed into the garbage bin and never mentioned again.

A new auditorium was planned for the future to replace Lynch Auditorium. In the meantime, the administration said, they’d make a beautiful park-like area, somewhere to walk and contemplate, out of the hole where Carpenter was. Instead, we’ve gotten a dent in the ground that floods with a light sprinkle. When Margaret Jonsson was condemned, the plan was to build a new theater in the future. Well, the future turned out to be too expensive, and so the future morphed into removing the mold from the Margaret Jonsson. But then Americans with Disabilities reared its head, and suddenly the Margaret Jonsson’s future was too expensive — now, we have no theater and no plan.

On April 23, 2021, UD was forgiven its entire paycheck protection loan — interest included — of $5,879,704, no strings attached. Two months later, in July, the university got rid of its entire facilities staff to hire an outside contractor instead in order to save money on payroll costs. What the university’s reaction to that free lunch was, I don’t know, but what it did afterwards speaks for itself. The reduction promised a future with a little more financial solvency, and mostly the same effectiveness from facilities. Since then, facilities workers reported being overworked and dorms suffered from poor maintenance and cleaning. The pool’s been slashed, too, to help achieve that financial solvency.

Regarding the pool, the plans for that space’s future are varied, too. One option was a tennis court. When Clark Hall was originally built, it featured a tennis court right behind the bocce court. Now, that tennis court is paved over for a parking lot — paved so cheaply, might I add, that the asphalt is peeling off in chunks and the tennis court below is slowly reappearing. Maybe some up-and-coming sophomores can band together, finish it off and save the university the cost of planning another tennis court for the future.

Now, President Jonathan Sanford hopes for a future where the university’s housing is revamped: a house system for the dorms, with chapels in every building, upperclassmen residing in the same dorm as their freshman year and most importantly, more beds. All this at the same time that departments are fighting for space and being reshuffled as professors lose their offices to dorms, with no replacement in sight. 

The future can be exciting and full of promise, but it’s also expensive and charted by hopeful minds who don’t quite have the wallet to back it up. Don’t let gilded words uttered by silver tongues convince you to sign on for plans you may never see come to fruition, and even if you get a promise in writing, don’t expect it to amount to too much. Don’t despair about the future being dull and meaningless. Just remember to think logically when you’re promised the world, and you’ll get disappointed less often.

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