The Faculty Senate committee studying the proposed elimination of the journalism department just released its recommendation Ä keep the department. The administration should prick up its ears, pay attention, and follow the recommendation.
The report said what the journalism professors, hundreds of alumni and students, the Arizona Daily Wildcat and other newspapers across Arizona have been saying the whole time.
It also detailed the administration's comedy of errors in handling the elimination of the journalism department.
These are serious charges in a university environment Ä indifference to the facts, power grabs, denial of due process. Such shoddy performance in a research project would not be tolerated, and must not pass for acceptable behavior here.
The Wildcat supports the Faculty Senate report and believes that the administration should follow all seven of the UA Faculty Senate's recommendations in their entirety. The recommendations are:
1. that President Pacheco and the Arizona Board of Regents reject in its entirety the proposal to eliminate the Department of Journalism.
2. that the president and the regents retain the Department of Journalism at the University of Arizona.
3. that the administration return some of the lines to the Department of Journalism that have been removed in the past few years. The faculty in Journalism has been reduced from 11.5 in 1987 to 6.0 in 1995. This reduction in its instructional resources has seriously compromised the department's ability to maintain its mission in teaching, research and service.
4. that the committee's recommendation to retain journalism be acted upon in a timely manner. The faculty, staff, students and potential students have been placed in an intolerable state of uncertainty, and this situation must be promptly resolved.
5. that the initiative to consider the place of journalism within a new structure housing the Media and Information Sciences be treated as a separate process from that being used to examine the recommendations regarding the elimination of the Department of Journalism.
6. that if a new unit housing Media and Information Sciences be formed, journalism must form an integral part of that unit.
7. that once the committees now in place to consider the question of a unit housing Media and Information Sciences have completed their reports, the Department of Journalism and the Faculty Senate be included in the planning process of such a unit from the very outset.
Will President Pacheco reconsider his decision to eliminate journalism?
The Wildcat hopes so. The faculty senate report exposed not only serious flaws in the arguments used to justify eliminating journalism, but even greater flaws in the review process that led to the proposal for elimination.
The proposal to eliminate the journalism department has been on the table for more than a year. While no decision of such importance should be rushed, it is unfair to allow a department full of students, faculty and staff languish in uncertainty. It is clear that the journalism department is an integral part of this university, and the decision to retain it must come quickly.
This is no time for the administration to try to save face. A decision to save the department is not the equivalent of backing down or losing; a decision to move forward with the guillotine is an example of utter disregard for faculty and students, the facts and good judgment.
This is not the time to play politics.
The evidence for keeping the department is clear: solid teaching, mentoring, information analysis, communication and writing skills. Killing the department is not cost-effective, as the administration originally claimed, and would not solve the university's budget crisis.
Pulling the department off of the chopping block is the only sensible decision. Public opinion and support is not a fail-safe gauge of wisdom, but this is one instance where the public is right. So are the students and faculty. Journalism must remain as an active part of our university community.
The administration should remember that there is always pride before the fall.
Read Next Article