Sun. Nov 17th, 2019

Through The Eagles Eye

The recently released Statement of Expectations by ASCEU leadership has caused a stir on campus. Some students, faculty, staff and administrators call the broad generalities in the statement an attack and others welcome it, declaring that it is what they have been saying all along.
We join in the latter group. However, we must clarify that we understand that the statements made by student leaders are generalities. As such, they are not necessarily indicative of individual employees and programs, but are broader in scope.

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The recently released Statement of Expectations by ASCEU leadership has caused a stir on campus. Some students, faculty, staff and administrators call the broad generalities in the statement an attack and others welcome it, declaring that it is what they have been saying all along.
We join in the latter group. However, we must clarify that we understand that the statements made by student leaders are generalities. As such, they are not necessarily indicative of individual employees and programs, but are broader in scope.
Some faculty, staff and administrators do an exceptional job. They focus on making CEU a better school. They take pride in their work and are an important part of students’ lives.
Others have lost sight of what working in education means. Working in the field of education gives all campus personnel a unique opportunity to make a difference in student’ lives, both individually and collectively.
Those who fail to understand this treat their work at CEU like any other nine-to-five, striving to do as little actual work as possible and avoiding challenges presented by getting involved with extracurricular activities or even being available for students concerns or keeping regular office hours.
Since the statement was released, programs have come to their own defense. A student forum two weeks ago resulted in harsh words, vulgarities and hurt feelings. We don’t believe this was ever the intent of student leaders when they drafted this statement.
Instead, we believe that ASCEU leadership wanted to leave a tangible statement of what needs to be improved on campus. We also believe that what was addressed in the statement is only the tip of the iceberg – that many of the problems at CEU go much deeper than what has been stated.
Among the programs to come under close scrutiny is the athletics program. Two weeks ago, student and faculty representing the program came to the defense of the program, pointing out that CEU has had winning records over the past few years.
To some degree, that is true. However, certain athletics programs are floundering.
Currently, CEU sports generally lose to every team except Colorado Northwestern Community College.
A quick visit to the Scenic West Athletics Conference stats web site is proof enough of that. Collectively over the past eight years, our athletics department has a winning record of .441. If you look at just conference games, that figure drops to .359, lower than every school in the conference except CNCC.
We in no way want to demean the athletics. Before we go throwing a bunch of stats into the air to show how poorly the program is doing, we must point something out. No other program has a record that shows its success over time. On one else reports how many awards they received versus the number of entries in a contest. No one shows with the reality of cold, hard numbers their ability to perform.
Sure, CEU has its ups as far as sports. For five consecutive years, men’s basketball has had an overall record above 50 percent, a trend that looks to be repeated this year. But other sports can make no such claim. Women’s basketball has had four overall winning seasons in eight years. Baseball has had two and volleyball hasn’t managed one in eight years.
But those scores are overall and include non-conference games. Non-conference games are scheduled in an effort to inflate the winning averages of a team. Other teams around the conference average well above the 50 percent mark. The rarity is when they don’t have overall winning seasons.
And overall statistics are beside the point. In the long run, it’s the conference games that matter. Non-conference games have little impact to the seed position in playoffs. It’s SWAC games that matter in the end.
And CEU has managed to have six teams with conference stats above 50 percent in eight years. That is four teams, playing eight seasons. Let’s all go back to MATH 990 here and learn that eight times four is 48. That means that 48 teams have played here in eight years. Six have had conference winning seasons. Again, some math here – we’re looking at one in eight having winning seasons. And none have had championships.
We’ll admit, judging the program as a whole is unfair. Men’s basketball is usually just behind other schools in the conference and well above CNCC. Slightly larger lags are seen in women’s basketball and baseball. Volleyball is a whole different story. CNCC has no volleyball team. So that puts CEU dead last. In eight years, CEU volleyball has played 116 games. They’ve won 26. Last fall, they won zero conference games and the year before, they had one win. Volleyball has won less than a quarter of their conference games in eight years.
Baseball is following close suit with each year looking bleaker than the one preceding it. The question is, what needs to change? Is it a question of recruiting? Are coaches trained well enough? Is it a management problem? Maybe it’s something in the water or the air.
One thing is sure: most of the other colleges in the conference have similar budget constraints as those presented at CEU. Most are larger and have slightly more financial ability. Why do star athletes go to other programs and not to CEU? Why do we have a losing program year after year? The answers are not simple.
And we believe that if administration, faculty, staff and students look closely at programs where they are involved, they can find the answers. Some changes to improve the campus may be drastic. Personnel changes may be necessary. Some programs may need to be cut. Just a couple of years ago, CEU administrators cut a nationally-ranked debate program at the college, claiming that the budget didn’t allow for it to continue. Are there other programs that should follow suit? And what should replace them.
We believe that administrators, faculty, staff and students have a responsibility to find the answers to the concerns raised by ASCEU’s Statement of Expectations. And we believe that administrators have a duty to carry through plans generated to correct the problems.
CEU is not as far in the dumps as some may think. We have a lot to offer, but we should be offering more and doing it better. We can always improve. This is an opportunity for all to do so.

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