Fixing old problems key to new year

The funny thing about coming back from a planned break is that things generally are the same as they were before the intermission. For campus, there isn’t much of a difference as the major issues that prevailed last semester will undergo another semester of scrutiny.

The student housing debate promises to remain one of the high-priority issues for UK. And as the debate continues to develop, UK must take the necessary steps towards improving the situation for its students. It may take more effort or a cooperative partnership with the city on the issue, it may take UK creating a department that assists students with off-campus housing the way many other campuses do — but whatever it is UK must step up its effort. Even if Lexington is having trouble enforcing its own code and zoning the city, UK must make the situation as palatable as possible for the people that make the university run.

South Limestone construction continues to be a big, visible infection festering on the edge of campus. When the work is done, the street should look and function better than ever, but for now some of UK’s best hangouts and off-campus businesses are suffering. According to the last update at the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Web site devoted to the construction, the construction was a week ahead of schedule, as of Oct. 10, 2009 that is. The city must not only do its best to expedite the process, but also give adequate updates of the progress.

Academically, the proposal of a split finals week will decide whether or not there will be a bit of a break in between the hustle and bustle of the end of the semester finals students have come to dread. Under the proposed plan finals would begin on Thursday and end on the Tuesday of the next week, giving students an extra weekend to prepare and spread out the stress of finals, something students definitely need.

With the whole country still in the midst of tough financial times and the state suffering its own dire budgetary crisis the price of higher education will stay in the headlines. According to CollegeBoard’s 2009 “Trends in Higher Education” Series, tuition has increased 4.9 percent annually, beyond general inflation, since the 1999-2000 academic year. But as bad as things are, it would not be surprising if more institutions had to utilize tuition as an avenue to make up for the lack of funds.

Finally, most important for those who work for the university is President Lee Todd’s dedication to not freezing salaries for another year. “Our highest priority is trying to find a way to have salary increases for faculty and staff,” Todd said in a September sit-down interview with the Kernel Editorial Board. Todd must stick to this dedication and ensure that employees don’t effectively take another pay cut as prices rise and wages stay the same.

Ringing in 2010 only means UK must work even harder to address the issues that affect campus and there must be renewed dedication to ensure that the various issues are addressed and reach necessary solutions.