A new year is always a fresh start. With Colorado Mesa University students new and returning coming to campus, they will likely seek out the classic college experience. And yet, there is nothing of substance behind the Maverick banner. Like an empty house, CMU is there; the lights are on, but no one interesting is home.

CMU is boring.

Its students are bored and uninvested, and they placate this apathy with an excessive use of alcohol, something the college has been known for for years.

It’s easy to accuse CMU of lacking a definitive identity, especially when the administration and university marketing urge students to consider it alongside larger and more established schools. But what exactly makes CMU boring?

Why does school spirit have to be bought with free t-shirts?

Why is CMU’s theatre not largely attended by its students, but more often the aging population of Grand Junction?

Why do the stands of the football games seem to have more “away” fans than those supporting home?

These are symptoms of the larger issue, one that creates a never-ending cycle of a dull campus life, one that gives students just enough to come back. And, many do not. CMU boasts a freshmen retention rate of only 66 percent, four percent below the national average. It’s time to bring attention to this issue, as well as define it.

The general theme of CMU has been unassuming and inoffensive. The campus is plain. A general beige wave rolls through each academic room, administrative office and athletic space. The most outrageous thing this school has done visually is put a praying mantis on top of Wubben Hall (even that is out of eyeshot).

CMU administration and the board of trustees want to please prospective students and their skeptical parents. But, in an effort to prove that CMU is now a serious university, it has lost any semblance of a personality. Universities develop this personality mainly through student and faculty events, and if these events are not met with enthusiasm, a campus becomes lifeless.

Arts are intended to serve as the lifeblood of any community, and CMU’s Performing Arts department has failed in this respect. Despite promotional events like student rush, only an average 8-9 percent of total attendees for theatre and dance productions are CMU students, according to Laura Bradley, the department’s communications coordinator. The department’s selection of plays, most upward of 50 years old, such as My Fair Lady (1956) and Boeing Boeing (1960), perhaps discourages students from attending. Based upon the selection of shows for the upcoming season, it seems as though the department will continue this disappointing trend.

Administrators may point to athletic events as evidence of CMU spirit and personality, but these events are attended only by a select group of community members and students using the events to pregame for weekend parties. Last year’s football games received an average of 2,462 attendees, a dismaying number when displayed against the empty seats of Stocker Stadium’s 8,000 seat capacity. Many do not stay throughout the game’s entirety as well, something this statistic doesn’t account for.

Event attendance is not the only factor that contributes to a generally spiritless campus. The lack of unification among faculty members also leads to an environment that feels fractured and disjointed. Though professors can be seen in groups of two or three grabbing coffee or lunch, nothing about the campus design or atmosphere encourages socialization between faculty.

From higher up, CMU professors are supposedly discouraged from affiliating in an attempt to quell unionization attempts.There are no faculty lounges, no faculty events. Largely, they stay in their offices. A divided CMU faculty unintentionally creates a divided CMU student population. This detachment can be seen in areas set aside for student socialization, like The Point, that are under-utilized and do almost nothing to encourage the desired Maverick community.

It would be hypocritical to raise these points of issue without looking internally here at The Criterion as well. For the past decade, The Criterion has functioned, with a few exceptions, as a publication without necessity. It has been a newspaper that covers the bare minimum and shies away from matters of importance. The Criterion has been boring.

Changing campus culture can be a slow process, but the first step is acknowledging its necessity. CMU cannot survive without its identity. And, this identity will ultimately come from some Mavericks. Once they are given the freedom to shape it.

We encourage CMU students to have their voice heard. If you would like to respond to the editorial, a letter to the editor is always welcome. Please send the letter to Criterion@coloradomesa.edu.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Harsh! I see your point. But you should address some of the fun things at CMU, too. Like when I was there the outdoor program was active and I liked the rock climbing wall, Horizon Magazine had some good issues and launch parties were frequently popular. I guess that I am thinking of a lot of alcohol-related activities, too, like pub night. And they spent so much money bringing in music acts.

  2. ARE YOU SERIOUS? If I had read this as an incoming freshman to CMU, I might have reconsidered my decision to attend. Raising awareness to these problems is important, but you may have just prevented potential students from even entertaining the idea of coming to this school. Are you even trying to help? I guess it’s good that nobody reads this paper anyways.

    • Exactly. This article doesn’t help anything. In fact, it only makes it worse. What the heck were they thinking when they wrote this.

  3. Disappointing to see the school newspaper say these things. Addressing issues is important, but nothing positive to say at all?

  4. I worked on the campus 15 years ago…Mesa State Days. And it was a fun place to be…Always enjoyed going to Wednesday night Wanderings put on by the outdoor program. The campus as well as the surrounding neighborhoods were all doing well. In those days the campus housing was smaller and many students lived off campus in the surrounding neighborhoods and were patrons of the small businesses, bars and resturants. This kept the money flowing into the community. But whats happened with this University expansion, they have systematically build more housing and retail on campus….which basically keeps the student dollars out of the community. You can see it….. just look at North Ave and home values around the University. The City has a great opportunity to make a difference…..but they haven’t. Instead of slowing the speed limit on North Ave to 25mph and adding multiple cross walks, from 1st to 21st and putting in bicycle lanes to make this area friendly to pedestrian traffic….which will once again make this large campus a part of the larger community around it. The City instead spent millions moving sidewalks over in phase 1 north ave renovation, and did nothing about the speed of traffic, as well as restricted access to some of the side streets….further isolating the neighborhoods from access to North Ave. So the University and City…have both worked to kill business on North Ave… I hope it changes, but after the 2million that was spent moving sidewalks over 6 feet….I just dont see it happening anytime soon.

    • I’m part of the Keep North4Ever group, working to stop the name change. Since they don’t post last names I don’t know if you are a member or not. My husband would very much like to meet with you to discuss your comments, which we think are very relevant to the issue. If you would be willing to talk w/ us please email me. We would really welcome any input & insight you could share. Thank you!!

  5. When you mention a lack of togetherness, I don’t think you’ve taken into consideration the music department. Which you didn’t mention once in this article. Walk into our building at any time of the day; there are students helping each other with homework, talking to each other, being there for each other… just a few first steps inside the building is what we’ve deemed to be our lounge. Around a corner is our locker room which a few students have donated a fridge and microwave to because nobody wants to leave. At 3am on any given day the Piano Lab is filled with students bettering themselves and following their passion. We all love and support each other – we are huge family and include our instructors in that as well.
    You also forgot to mention our marching band, which is about 150 CMU stundents strong who are ALL HYPED about everything Mav-related. A giant percentage of these students aren’t even music majors – just average joes who like band and like their school.
    I’m sorry you had such a poor college experience here. Maybe you should join us in the music department

  6. I am so disappointed in the Criterion for this article. You are blaming departments like Performing Arts for not being “the lifeblood of the community” because we struggle to get large amounts of students to attend our concerts and performances. You at the Crite have power, you have the opportunity to foster an encouraging and welcoming environment within this school, and yet you bash the school, bash it’s programs and students. Why not use your influence for good and reach out to the students and tell them to go to football games, dance shows, and music concerts? We in the Performing Arts work so hard and are so proud of what we do, and we welcome all to come see what we have been up to. Let go of Netflix for an evening and walk around our beautiful campus, see one of our many shows, visit student life, go to The Point, visit the Outdoor Program. This school has so much to offer, it is up to you as an individual to take advantage. You can choose to #mavup and choose to enjoy your time here, or waste your time at school. Your life.

  7. This article is so disappointing. I ask the Criterion to recognize what the have just said about the entire Performing Arts Department. You have placed a very large weight on the MOSS students and faculty and saying that they are to blame for a boring campus life is extremely out of line. Besides insinuating that the Performing Arts Department is one of the only sources for school spirit, you have insulted an entire department. Those shows, “My Fair Lady” and “Boeing Boeing,” were true works of art, comical and entertaining (not to mention all of the other shows done by the department). Those students worked extremely hard to share their art and show their school pride, and The Criterion has just fully disrespected that. There many other performances this past year as well, like in the Music Department, who set a fantastic Mozart Opera in the fifties, or the many, many, many choir, orchestra and band performances as well. These performances were all under the direction of CMU professors, who The Criterion has also just insulted.
    As for school spirit/participation, or lack thereof, does Colorado Mesa University no pride itself on all of the activities on and off campus? What about all of the students who are actually out there utilizing CMU’s many facilities? What about the students who actually did Mav Up and attend those games and performances. You at The Criterion should be celebrating those who participate and encouraging more to follow. this article is a prime example of a “stacking the deck” fallacy. All you’ve stated is whats wrong and wrongfully blamed a whole department for it. Lets encourage students to join this amazing community and support their fellow students by going to these shows and games. in other words, MAV UP! Those of you at The Criterion, YOU have a voice that can encourage that, please do not shame an entire department for sharing their art and doing their job, Thank you.

  8. You make your college experience the way you want it to be. YOU MAKE YOUR COLLEGE EXPIRENCE THE WAY YOU WANT IT TO BE. Don’t blame other departments for your lack of fun. I’m sorry that the Theater department can’t put on shows RENT or Hamelton every semester. Maybe don’t assume that when the Vocal Department puts on an opera it’s going to be boring because “it’s opera and that mean it’s old and boring”. STOP judging a show for its title and go see it. We are not here to please YOU we are here to get an education. Our 150+ Athletic band (the largest athletic organization/organization on campus) is always supportive of the school and always hyped. I have many friends on this paper that I know feel the opposite. I’m really disappointed by this artical.

  9. Just as Claire and Cierra said, you can’t pin the blame of your lack of interest in our going ons on campus on other departments. The theater department can’t perform flashy new shows every four months; the thing about old plays is that they exist and are pertinent in the community; the students are there to get an education more than they’re there to entertain you. Denying themselves experiences that you discount as boring because they’re not towards your taste is going to leave them uncultured and a step behind when they leave CMU to join the bigger picture. Theater and dance aren’t even the only productions that the performing arts building does. Even years after being a PA student, attending the vocal and instrumental department’s concerts and operas are still highly entertaining and extremely enjoyable to me. And if you feel as though you are bored with the Crit, perhaps getting a job you don’t hate will improve your enjoyment of the time here at CMU.

  10. Not really sure why you felt the need to only bash the fine arts… Also have you taken a moment to consider all that CMU is aiming to do this year? Our administration is motivating our freshman class to participate more, RHA and RAs reach out to those on campus, PAC puts on awesome events and we have over 150 active and engaging clubs. I’m not saying CMU is perfect, but hands down this is one of the most responsive administrations in comparison to your “more established schools.” The students are not “bored” or “uninvested” they are busy becoming adults and maintaining the connections and friendships CMU helped them form. It is their choice to drink, and for many of them, they are of the legal age to do so. CMU has found the happy medium of promoting a dry environment in the Residence Halls (where most residents are underage) but also having the Point, a close by and safe environment to have a drink if you choose to but ALSO participate in the various games and activities and hosting events. Finally if you are going to write an article critiquing the university, you’re a Mav so please DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Feel free to reach out to me on what events you would like to see on campus this year; I’d love to hear how we could make your experience in the Mavily a better one.

  11. I’m very displeased that this article was even published. The paper isn’t a place to express this opinion as it should be something that inspires others. You make the difference in your education and lifestyle on campus. You are your own biggest motivator, and thus cannot pin this boredom on the school.

  12. As a recent graduate (May 2016) I disagree with the majority of this article. During my junior and senior years the school had more activities going on than I could possibly attend. I chose which events I wanted to go to, being ‘bored’ at college was a choice of not actively engaging in the events that were held. There is some truth here in the fact that our football games have small crowds but the article completely neglects CMU’s basketball, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, volleyball and cycling teams which were a blast to watch. I also don’t think that the Performing Arts department is to blame for CMU being ‘boring’, it plays a role but not nearly to the extend that you are giving it. This article simply points out that CMU needs some work and then found some negative stats and tried to pin the causation of CMU’s pitfalls on those stats without offering viable solutions. The solution isn’t so simple and the problem isn’t so profound as you make it to be. The most accurate observation here is that the Crite needs some work and is in a great position to better the University.

  13. I am sad that this article has put CMU in such a bad light. I love my school and I think that we do have a thriving student culture. As many of my colleagues have pointed out, the Moss Performing Arts Center is a prime example of culture that is alive and active. To place this huge burden and blame of a spiritless community onto the performing arts center (without even mentioning the music side of things) is irresponsible and I’m severely disappointed that this article doesn’t even question the lack of enthusiasm upon individual students to “get out there” and find what’s on campus. We, in the music and theater building, bend over backwards to get our events out on campus and get as many people interested as possible. And we even pull our Grand Junction community into it as well. I don’t personally see what this person is talking about when they say this campus is lifeless, but it surely isn’t my experience at CMU or what I see everyday. With that said, I’d just like to say, “GO MAVS!”

  14. Thank you for providing a perfect example of why people think your generation is a bunch of entitled brats. It is not CMU’s job to make you happy and less bored, you make your own choices. CMU provides a great many opportunities for their students to be involved, attend sporting events (for free!), go to the rec center (for free!), and attend performances. If you choose not to do so, that is on you, not CMU.
    Also:
    * The visitor stands are full at home football game because that’s where The Herd – the booster club (maybe you should look into joining) sits. This leaves areas of the home stands open for the season ticket holders, who are often alumni who can appreciate this institution.
    * What is wrong with the community supporting our theater and music programs by attending shows? Should more of our students attend? That’s hard to say, but I think we can say the community shows more support for our arts departments than the editorial board of the Crite does.
    * There are plenty of events for the Faculty and Staff to mingle, but I am sure they thank you for your concern. Just because you might not hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. There have been faculty events at The Point and there is an upcoming Faculty and Staff open house at the library. Students don’t have to be invited to everything. In fact, there USED to be a Welcome Back to Campus Event specifically for Faculty and Staff, however it was replaced this year with Convocation.

    Frankly I hope Pres. Foster writes a rebuttal to this article because it was poorly done and a poor reflection of the Editorial Board of the Crite. If you hate CMU so much and it’s boring you to death, then DO something about it. It’s your choice to be here, no one is forcing you.

  15. This seems like an impetus to start working on solutions. Continue focusing on this as a larger and longer discussion by inviting students, staff, faculty, and administration to help restructure the organization for inclusivity and connectivity. Many campuses have experienced and overcome similar issues, so look to the structure of their administrations for guidance.

    Please also be cognizant of others’ desire to have a boring school – one that is easier for students to focus on their studies and personal relationships with their professors. There is also a contingency of community members (including myself) who did not support the designation of a University in Grand Junction. Having been a student at two major Universities in CA and UT for a total of 9 years, I can only hope that responsible, quiet, and intelligent youth will be populating our small city. I’m tired of house parties that keep up neighbors, drag races down residential streets, and out-of-towners changing the hometown feel of a city.

  16. I have to say, as alumni of CMU, this is the first time I’ve read a crite article in some time. I have to admit however, that it wasn’t for the quality or content of the article, but moreso the comments from people who aren’t “bored” with all the events happening around the school. It might be time to get out and attend an event or two, or twelve. P.s. a 4% change in a statistic is hardly circumstantial, check that with the mathematics or business majors. It might be time to step away from writing “fake news” on your computer and let the Crite go the way of the entire newspaper industry and go do something else. Join a club, choir, sport, pottery class, alcoholics anonymous meeting, gym, hiking club, photography club, baseball game. Blow off some steam at the Silos or the parkour gym, take in a concert off or on campus, attend a show in the theater, these shows are still around because they are good. Look at the attendance ratings from my fair lady compared to urinetown, or take a look at the student and community attendance at the Rocky horror show. These are attended by elders (who are also donors btw) in our community because they get transformed to a happier time. Just like historical art and literature is not thrown in the “That’s too old” pile, we use these masterpieces to teach theater, music and dance. These events fundraise for student scholarships and so much more. Athletics, such as basketball and football and others listed above are there to teach athletics, healthy living and teamwork. While again their primary goal is to teach, they also fundraise for scholarships and much more across campus that you may not have investigated thoroughly enough before sitting down at your laptop. I believe this “editorial article” was probably more apropos for an “student opinion piece”. If you decide not to partake in the plethora of events and hobbies at your fingertips, at least delve into a better understanding of journalism. Research better, interpret better, report better. If you aren’t a freshman, there may be something lacking in your curricular studies, let alone the extracurricular activities you may or may not be attending.

  17. I’m very sad to see this article go up. My time at CMU was far from boring. The graphic design department was always having events and the mass comm barbecue was always a good time. My friends spanned quite a few majors and we would hang out almost every day, and I’m sure there are other students that were the same way. We are more connected than you think. The PAC works so hard to bring us awesome events and concerts, and they bring popular artists to campus on the regular. Like other comments on this post say, college is indeed what you make of it.

    That being said, college is a place of learning. If you’re here just to have fun, then you’re throwing your money away. The purpose of college isn’t to keep you constantly entertained. It’s to prepare you for the job field within your specific major. There’s gonna be some times where you have to buckle down and work. I’ve had to skip fun events for homework, but at the end of the day, having my dream job is more important than being temporarily entertained.

  18. I agree with the article. I have found that for a student that is non-trad, works a full time job, has a full family life and doesn’t spend a majority of time on campus, it is boring. And the stuff that seems appealing isn’t promoted anywhere but the Stall News. If I didn’t use a bathroom on campus I would never even know some of the things happening there. Whomever plans events at CMU doesn’t get the faculty involved to help promote activities, In my three years attending, I have only had one professor that talked about an event on campus and that was because he was offering extra credit if we participated in the event.
    That being said, this is Grand Junction and overall the whole town has terrible promotions groups. You don’t see much about concerts, festivals or events unless you happen to be following a certain thing or have done it year after year.
    You could actually carry the whole, “CMU is boring” over to, “Grand Junction is boring” because unless you actively search out things to do, it is boring.

  19. Thought I’d toss in my penny of opinion. I’m a GJ resident that grew up a couple blocks from the college/now university and not far from Stocker Stadium, and I took voice lessons all through high school at Moss.
    Even living so close, the only contact I really had with the school was the loud parties, loud cars, and vodka bottles on the front lawn the next morning. I can’t criticize Moss; I spent a good chunk of five years in and out of there and know their talent. On the other hand, this article was the first inkling I’ve had in years that CMU even had a football team.
    The leadership acts like things will get better if they just make the school a little bigger – but it’s never big enough. To GJ residents, it remains alien, due to a lack of promotion and advertising beyond attempts to build the student body. That’s why the backlash of renaming North Ave. is so aggressive – it’s a demand from an unfamiliar organization to throw out a landmark rather than an invitation for the town residents to own (vs. disown/be apathetic toward) their local university.
    Not to put down the student body, but to encourage them to be excited about what they’re doing at CMU. I know from personal experience that you all can be very loud. Paint the town burgundy and gold when the Mavs play…so we know that they’re playing. Apparently I missed a ton of football games, darnnit.

  20. This further reinforces my belief that cmu is a dumpster fire that can’t be saved. I wish i knew how important having a school you were proud of was when I applied. I think Mesa tries too hard to hard to be something it’s not. It’s a overgrown community college and people who think otherwise are either fools or liars.

  21. Bravo! Finally, someone had the guts to write about what goes on inside the school. I’m very proud of the persons who wrote this article. To all the people who did not like the article: If this article offends you or makes you feel uncomfortable then you are obviously living in your own bubble and never understood the school. I was there when the change in leadership happened in 2008 ,and ever since, things started to fall apart in that school. I even had many professors tell me that the new administration was only concerned about bringing in more students and more money and cared less about the students’ learning and preparation. 99% of the professors at this school are very fine people but they work in a very difficult environment.
    Remember when the administration closed the study room in the 2nd floor of the Univ center and they made it into a meeting room for politicians?
    Remember when they got rid of the parking lot behind the arts building and made it into a rugby field that no one used?
    Remember when they cut the number of tutors at the TLC by half?

    I could keep going with more examples but you get the point; these were all bad decisions and they never consulted students or asked about their opinion. The administration must move away from the current business model of profits first and embrace a model that is centered on the students success.

    They should have kept the school the way it was back in 2005 & 2007 . The learning was great, and the students and professors were happy. Nowadays it looks like a huge industrialized complex that doesn’t serve the students needs.

  22. It’s great that the Editorial Board has opinions, however, being writers and editors, you all should have the rhetoric knowledge to better defend your argument. Most of your argument consisted of ill-informed opinions. There were basically two actual facts you used to defend your argument: the freshmen retention rate and the student attendance percentage at the theatre. Both of these stats unfortunately reflect just a sample of the culture at CMU. Just because CMU doesn’t have a great football or theatre program doesn’t mean that there is no life or identity anywhere on campus, and it certainly doesn’t mean that CMU is straight boring. It sounds like the Editorial Board expects CMU to function like a giant SEC school that has 50-thousand students. Go to a school like that and you’ll discover that you’re just another face in the crowd and the mega-school “identity” drowns out the individual.

    I don’t disagree with the article completely and there are things that need to be changed, but through this article, The Criterion showed how apparently “boring” CMU is. The Editorial Board is obviously board if they have to resort to writing bias, ill-informed, problem-inducing articles like this. This article doesn’t fix anything! Your attempt to “raise awareness” was just a jab at every club, community, organization, student, and faculty on campus. Don’t just talk about a problem and leave it at that, talk about a problem and then at least give an idea of how to fix it. Failing to offer any kind of solution is not fair to those working so hard to make CMU an amazing place. Your only suggestion is for CMU students to have the freedom to give our school an identity, which is great, but that identity shouldn’t be encouraged by an article full of opinionated complaints. Give some encouragement, offer ways for students to get involved, PROMOTE the “failing” CMU programs. You guys are one of the main media sources for students. The media influences people, so influence in a positive way! The Criterion has a great platform, use it well and don’t abuse it with articles like this. Now go get ’em and do your job right!

  23. I could go on an on about how disappointed I am that this article was written with such a negative outlook on CMU.

    I just graduated in May and this wasn’t my experience at all. The thing is, we can develop programs for freshman all we want to, offer student discounts to shows and push people to get involved but ONLY YOU DETERMINE YOUR EXPERIENCE. Personally I loved being involved with younglife college and the dance program at CMU.

    Also, please don’t go blaming fine arts when you clearly know nothing about it. Do you know how expensive big flashy productions are? Have you even BEEN to some of the productions of so-called “boring” shows or are you just dissing them because they are old. They’re classics for a reason. Even larger schools like CSU and UNC with bigger budgets don’t do huge flashy shows all the time. It’s more about our theatre student’s education than it is about entertaining fellow (uneducated, uncultured) students. Because guess what? In the real world, people do pay to see the classics. And they pay to go to the opera. Crazy, I know.

    Also, we have SO MANY opportunities for people to get involved in things. Did you know you can take upper division dance classes without being a major or a minor? Or that your KINA credit can be filled with an intro level dance class?

    Outside of the arts, there are SO MANY opportunities to get plugged in. Campus ministry, clubs, Intermural sports, and so much more. Not to mention the FANTASTIC outdoor program!! We have so many events where these things are advertised but our student choose to ignore the opportunity to get involved.

    CMU being “borning” isn’t about lack of activities or opportunity to get involved. It’s about self-absorbed students who are too cool for campus life. It’s about a culture that says it’s better to get wasted than to get involved. Sorry but this whole blaming different areas of campus thing isn’t the truth.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here