Wren to Richmond

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November 10, 2011

8:33 PM

Congratulations to John Miller (D-1) and Mike Watson (R-93) on their elections to the state Senate and House of Delegates respectively. As a school that has produced three U.S. presidents, the College of William and Mary has a long-standing tradition of participation in politics. After major voting drives at the College as part of the Scott Foster ’10 campaign, more than 2,100 students were registered to vote in Williamsburg. Because College students make up such a large part of Miller’s and Watson’s constituencies, they need to be familiar with the College and what it needs to continue to be one of the top universities in the country.

As students at the College, we are proud of our school — there is a reason “Tribe” is painted on the roads surrounding campus. We are a small, selective state school, and we want it to stay this way. The College is known for its high standards of higher education. Students should not have to become bankrupt in order to attend an institution such as ours, and we want to continue to provide the best education possible without charging exorbitant tuition fees. We have a strong sense of history, exemplified by our proximity to Colonial Williamsburg and our deep love of tradition. Whether we are walking through the Sir Christopher Wren building at Commencement or streaking the Sunken Garden, we know our past makes us unique.

Our values make us who we are, and as your constituents, we want you to respect them. Most importantly, the College cannot afford to lose anymore state funding ­— a fact with which any student who has had class in Morton Hall is all to familiar. We need money so we can make better use of the buildings and resources we already have.

Our faculty, arguably our most important resource, needs to receive competitive salaries. Recently, a few professors have left the College because they have received better offers from other schools. We need to be able to employ the best faculty in order to continue our tradition of academic excellence.

Along those same lines, the College has a long tradition as a liberal arts college. We want to receive funding across the board, not just for science, technology, education and mathematics. Yes, we want to be competitive in all of those areas, but the state simply cannot dismiss the other departments at the College as unworthy of funds when so much of the student body is majoring in the social sciences and humanities.

The College needs the freedom to make whatever decisions will enable the school to best serve students.
This includes leaving the determination of in-state to out-of-state student ratios to the College. The College needs to be able to accept students based on its budget and the quality of the applicants. We cannot allow for state representatives to pander to constituents who are mad that their children were not admitted.

This may seem like a lot to ask for, but it is important for state representatives to realize what makes this school special to its students. The College is one of the top schools in the country, and we want to keep it that way. We need representatives in Richmond who will fight for the College — the decisions our new representatives make will help determine whether or not the College will be able to maintain its prestigious standing in the future.

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