Good essay describing a corrosive trend. I think it needs to consider one more element: how many of its faculty are full time, tenure track, have terminal degrees, and what’s their teaching load? If you have well-supported faculty, and if more than 90% of your courses are taught by full time, tenure track faculty, and if your college has the money, then investment in amenities isn’t a bad thing. Environment matters.
But if most of your courses are taught by adjuncts and administrative costs keep going up? There’s a real problem: the school has abandoned education as its primary mission.