Letter to the editor: The work ahead

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the opportunity to offer some additional perspective on the Lanthorn’s Monday, Nov. 7 editorial on campus facilities, “Fighting for equal funding.” I agree with the overall sentiment expressed in the editorial, namely that the university’s need for additional facilities is my priority, too.

The President’s Cabinet gives careful attention to facilities which we seek to align with academic program growth and student needs. Financial resources are limited, so we cannot always immediately address every priority. As a public institution, we have just three sources of funds for campus construction: the state of Michigan, private donors and tuition. Assistance from the state does not come regularly and must be matched with university resources. For example, Kindschi Hall was the first Allendale Campus project in 20 years to receive state assistance. And state help is never available for remodeling, for housing, dining, athletics or for most student life activities.

Recently, the state of Michigan approved planning authorization for the expansion of the university’s health sciences programs in Grand Rapids. State lawmakers took this action because Grand Valley State University programs in nursing and the health professions have run out of room and, importantly, because those academic programs align with the state’s priorities to support only facilities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

State funds are simply not available for other academic needs, no matter how pressing. Even when the state does contribute funds to our building projects, the majority of the funding still must come from GVSU. The Lanthorn has done an excellent job in identifying high-priority needs. The job ahead for the President’s Cabinet is to be ever vigilant in working with faculty, staff and students in establishing priorities and finding resources to do the work.


Gayle Davis, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs and Scott Richardson, vice president of finance and administration