As published in Queen’s Journal, 1 December 2011:
Queen’s decision to suspend admissions to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program has left a significant number of questions unanswered. Students deserve a thorough explanation that includes the administration’s plan for the program’s future.
Students weren’t consulted on the suspension. An email appeared in their webmail inboxes on Nov. 9. It’s inexcusable. Suspending admissions to an established program warrants an in-person meeting to effectively field questions and concerns. The administration mismanaged the situation, perpetuating student frustration by issuing vague statements.
While the suspension was set for one year, there’s been no guarantee from the administration that the program will be brought back in its current form. If the intent is to transition into the program’s cancellation, the administration needs to be upfront. With the University’s financial woes, the future of Fine Arts is uncertain.
It’s unfair and inaccurate to say the administration is targeting Fine Arts. More should have been done to seek the program’s preservation.
Donations should have been aggressively pursued to try to keep the program functioning.
Cutting costs is a necessary step when there’s a deficit, but it makes more sense to eliminate costs from the processes of the University rather than the product students pay for.
Student-artists have been unfairly dealt with, especially those in their first year of the Fine Arts program.
Given the highly creative and personal nature of the program, students are an excellent resource to one another, trading tips and techniques. The current class of first years will be short-changed because new students won’t be enrolling, meaning fewer students to share collected wisdom.
AMS assembly struck a committee on Nov. 10 to investigate the suspension of Fine Arts, comprised of ASUS executive, AMS executive and the Queen’s rector. They need to do more.
While the committee brought an initiative to Senate on Nov. 22 that sought to create guidelines for the future suspension of programs, it’s done little to deal with the clear problem at hand.
Senate stalled the initiative, stating that there wasn’t enough time to discuss it. This was unacceptable. For an issue that directly affects 107 Fine Arts students as well as the campus population as a whole, time needs to be made.
Fine Arts students were the most recent victims of University budget cuts. The least they should be able to expect is a little transparency.