Monday, October 1, 2012

Emory College's administration misses the point with latest statement

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Emorys communication remains one-sided, despite attempts for it to be otherwise.
  • Max Blau
  • Emory College's communication remains one-sided, despite attempts for it to be otherwise.
It's quite evident that many of you disagreed with the stance I took in my column last week, which looked at some of the potential benefits within Emory College's discretionary cuts. While we may disagree on some of the issues pertaining to these shuttered programs, there's no question that the administration's communication continues to be reprehensible.

In case you missed it, the College released a "clarification" about its plan late Friday afternoon, which on behalf of the deans, noted:

The undergraduate Economics and Spanish departments are not closing — majors will continue to be offered and faculty will have the opportunity to strengthen those fields of study.

All undergraduates who have begun a major or minor in closing academic departments will be able to complete those majors; some students who have begun coursework but have not declared a major or minor will be able to do so.

Students with an interest in visual arts and/or journalism will still have opportunities to explore these subjects in other departments or program structures.

The Department of Russian and Eastern Asian Languages and Cultures is not closing. The number of permanent staff dedicated to Russian language instruction will be reduced as part of a reassessment of its role in Emory's academic offerings.

Language instruction in Hindi and Persian is not being discontinued.

No one's employment is ending immediately: Approximately 20 staff positions will be eliminated over the next five years. These staff members have been given eight months to five year's notice, and Emory College will support staff in assisting with the transition, including efforts to find other positions at Emory.

No tenured faculty positions are being eliminated — they will be offered comparable positions (i.e. tenured faculty) in other academic departments.

All graduate students in affected graduate programs (Economics, Educational Studies, Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts, Spanish) remain full members of the Laney Graduate School and all financial and academic commitment will be honored.

There's nothing new within this statement — it's simply another message from the College reaffirming its position. But rather than communicate these kinds of "facts" when more people will actually read the news, the school's string of Friday announcements — including the initial announcement to suspend and eliminate programs — sends the message that conversations with faculty and students aren't important. Friday's official correspondence really adds nothing to the discourse surrounding these cuts, once again demonstrating the administration's persistent failure to have transparent, substantive discussions about the recently made decisions.

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