In regards to recent articles about Vincennes University possibly taking over Kimmell Park from the city, a few questions have come to my mind.
I am a Vincennes resident that works in Vincennes and has also had the privilege to attend and graduate from Vincennes University (Class of 2005). During my time at VU, I had a job and worked hard to pay for tuition, books, lab fees etc. While at VU I took a U.S. History class, in which we learned about Henry Ford and the assembly line. If you recall what Henry Ford did with the assembly line was he brought the cost of his vehicles down by making production cheaper. He then passed the savings on to the consumer.
What does this have to do with VU and Kimmell Park you say?
Every fall I read in the Sun Commercial about how VU enrollment is always at or near records, which is great! Great for VU and great for the city that benefits economically from all of the students going there, eating at our restaurants, and buying stuff from our stores. I also always read articles in the paper after VU representatives go to the state board of education to ask for tuition increases. The increase is usually only 2-3 percent, far below many of the state’s four year institutions (except Purdue) which is also something to be proud of for VU.
But while the enrollment has been going up for some time now, why aren’t the principles of Henry Ford at least somewhat in play for VU? More students equal more tuition, fees, etc. I also know it’s complicated and with more students comes the need for bigger buildings, more staff, all of the things that make VU tick. But I also know that VU has enough money now that they are starting to get into projects that in my mind are starting to go against their mission of giving students a high quality education at a reasonable price.
The burden of student loan debt my generation (millennials) is having to bear has become a MAJOR issue. People my age cannot buy a house because their debt service to income ratio is so bad because of student loans. Someone please ask the good folks running VU how much college was when they attended in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, because the answer would probably make them sound like thieves versus what it costs today.
The point of my article is not that VU does not have every right to spend money on Kimmel Park, tearing down the building on Second and Main streets, or making repairs to the levee system in Vincennes, but it just seems to me like it goes against the mission of VU, and the students that work very hard and take out loans to attend VU deserve a break more than an aesthetic looking Kimmel Park (after they tear down the boat club but I guess that’s the price of progress).
As an alumnus of VU, and hard working taxpayer living in Vincennes, I wish VU would take a lesson from Henry Ford.