Opinion: I am a frustrated junior at Loyola


Cristian Orellana

Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Lily Cummings

I came back as a junior to Loyola a little frustrated, so I wrote a letter on my Facebook page:

Dear Loyola University New Orleans,

I’m confused.

No, not about any of my classes. I’m confused as to why several friends have lost their federal work study and are getting fired from jobs they’ve held for years–including myself.

I’m confused as to what degree I’m getting after two years of hard work. Do I still go to the School of Mass Communication, and what college is that under exactly? Last I heard, the College of Music and Fine Arts which makes a lot of sense…

I’m confused about why we are making cuts to a program like Iggy Vols that has had an impact on hundreds of students, not to mention the effect we have on the communities we serve in South Africa and Jamaica. Ignacio Volunteers is a program that is founded in our Jesuit values and gives students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture to serve with and for others. What about cutting Service Learning in half? Think about the community organizations that count on the volunteer work of Loyola students each year.

I’m confused that it is still not understood that a wide population of our students face food insecurity. Meanwhile, they are paying for expensive college dorms–some of which you have now tripled to squeeze in another student aka another person paying tuition–or forced to pick from outrageously expensive housing in the Uptown New Orleans area.

I understand budget cuts need to be made, but I’m confused as to why we have fired, displaced staff members from housing, and rewritten contracts that force them into making less money than they were before.

Please give us answers and be transparent. Please don’t tell us not to care, because, “At the end of the day you’re getting a four year degree and that’s what matters.” College is so much MORE than that. After all, Loyola teaches us to care. The Jesuit values you instill in us include “magis,” asking us to do more or something greater for the glory of God.

When my mom dropped me off for year three at Loyola, I wasn’t excited. I realize now that is because I have lost a lot of pride in my university after decisions that have been made. I understand budget cuts are happening to most colleges these days, but I am not the only student who has noticed something different–and not in a good way–about this year.

Students, please consider emailing the following with your concerns:

President Tania Tetlow:

[email protected]

Interim Provost and

VP of Academic Affairs

Maria Calzada, Ph.D.:

[email protected]

Chief Operating Officer

Paul Pastorek:

[email protected]

Since publishing that post–and sending an email to all three faculty members mentioned above–I have received answers from other faculty and staff members. I have been informed that I will receive a B.A. in Mass Communication. I also learned that the School of Mass Communication is under the College of Music and Fine Arts, but that it will be renamed in the near future to encompass all of the programs housed in the college. I was told through an email sent to faculty that students like myself who had work study on their financial aid package this summer, but do not see it now on their account, can file an appeal.

I appreciate the transparency I have found in several faculty and staff members, but I would encourage students to keep asking questions and voicing their concerns. I believe Loyola will be the best institution and investment it can be, when the communication between students and faculty is also the best it can be.