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A-Senate concerned about costs, safety at CMED

President of the School of Medicine, Ernest Yoder, speaks about the development of the CMED buildings and programs Tuesday afternoon in Pearce Hall. (Arin Bisaro/Staff Photographer)

CMED Founding dean Ernest Yoder, speaks about the development of the CMED buildings and programs Tuesday afternoon in Pearce Hall. (Arin Bisaro/Staff Photographer)

While College of Medicine Founding Dean Ernest Yoder addressed the Academic Senate on Tuesday, some senators expressed deep concerns for the university and its students as CMED continues to develop.

Senator Steve Thompson was worried CMED is incurring costs that are too high during a period of campus-wide cutbacks. He cited the 88 instructors hired by CMED, saying they create too high of an instructor-student ratio when factoring in the 400 students it plans to enroll across all four classes by 2017.

Thompson said his department is required to have 15 students per class. CMED totals 4.5 students per instructor.

“It seems like every summer, while we’re all away, (CMED) is costing more and more,” Thompson said. “While we can’t even afford to buy pencils, it seems a little strange. As a faculty member, and as a student, you’re seeing that we’re cutting back more and more.”

Although he said he initially supported the creation of CMED, Thompson has found it harder to support in recent years.

“If we were flush with cash, fine,” Thompson said. “But how we’re increasing tuition and making faculty cut back, (CMED) is more difficult for me to support. We got 20,000 (students) and only 400 medical students. Down the road, I’m worried about how students will be attracted to CMU.”

There are 25 full-time faculty hired for CMED’s on-campus location, Yoder said. Sixty-three instructors were assigned to the CMED East campus in Saginaw.

Yoder said CMED’s teacher-to-student ratio is normal for medical schools, comparing its ratio with other medical schools such as Michigan State University.

“This is a normal amount of instructors,” Yoder said.

Another senator, Sandy Lane, was concerned about the safety of students traveling to rural areas such as Saginaw that see more violent crime than Mount Pleasant.

“I was wondering about the safety for students in Saginaw,” Lane said. “I know these areas, Saginaw, Flint, are just getting worse and worse. How will students stay safe?”

Yoder said plans are in place to upgrade the security systems at little cost to the university.

“Part of the planning involves that security relationship,” Yoder said. “(CMU Chief of Police) Bill Yeagley has been part of our team. We will update our security systems to make it better for students and staff. There have been no incidents related to students.”

The cost of the security upgrade will be included in CMED East’s planned $25 million budget, Yoder said. He said that the hospitals, St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant Health Care, will pick up more than 50 percent of the funding.

CMED is just $4 million shy of its fund-raising goal for phase-two construction at CMED’s east campus in Saginaw.

Yoder said that phase two’s goal is $25 million, and that the same goal for phase one is already completed.

“We have the funding, so it’s ready to go,” Yoder said of phase one. “And the two hospitals are providing us a lot of extra space. They’re great partners.”

Yoder said construction in Saginaw will begin by the end of the month.

Phase One consisted of classroom construction for the 56,000 sq. ft. building in Sagniaw for the expected 208 third and fourth-year students, while Phase Two will entail the development of clinical space at the two partnered hospitals.

Yoder said the university has received $18 million in government funding from the two hospitals for their residency programs. He said instructor salaries at those locations will easily be paid by the added funding.

“They’re training residents and students at the same time,” Yoder said. “Their salaries are covered by those dollars. That part is a really good deal.”

2 Comments

  1. I said that I was worried about the students living in the residence halls at the Saginaw campus. Saginaw is not rural, it is urban and I was trying to make sure that the student population in these increasingly higher crime areas are not being put in dangerous situations. It seems to me, from the comments from Sen. Yoder, that they are keeping up with security concerns.

    Sen Lane

  2. michmediaperson says:

    Why is CMU opening up campuses–the Med School and the downtown Detroit location–in high-crime, liberal Democrat cities???

    Why not good conservative Republican safe cities like Holland, St. Joseph, Midland.

    Flint and Saginaw now rank as the second and third most violent cities in America, per a September, 2013 article on Saginaw News, mlive.com.

    You look at the most murder cities in America, the most violent cities—-they all have one thing in common. They are all run by liberal, socialist Democrats. The Mayor, City Council, state rep, state senator and local Congressman are all liberal Democrats. That fits Flint, Saginaw and Detroit. What I don’t understand, why do people in these cities keep voting liberal Democrat when they’re not safe, the cities look like Berlin after WWII.
    Crooked politicians. You look at Republican areas like Bloomfield Hills, Holland, Midland and you see safe, family-oriented cities with nice homes and lower unemployment.

    CMU should never have gone to Saginaw and Detroit. Let’s hope we don’t become another Eastern Michigan in liberal Democrat Ypsilanti with murder after murder and high crime. I just hope being located in Saginaw that it will turn off good students. Good students won’t want to attend school in high crime, liberal Democrat cities. I see Wayne State announced late today they will give in-state tuition to Canadians and midwest students since students don’t want to go to school in bankrupt, crime-infested Detroit.

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