Media arts changes 'unethical'

By Shane L. Clark
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 9, 1997


I have known Mr. Michael Little since my attendance at the University of Arizona. I find him sincere, encouraging and friendly, however his letter to the editor regarding the "discontent students" requires immediate attention. His letter only confirms that the Department of Media Arts is completely missing the issue at hand.

First, we the students approached the Arizona Daily Wildcat to write a story on the department's policy changes, not the new equipment or "positive" changes. Second, I will again state that I do not have a problem with department policy changes. I believe that changes are necessary and inevitable. I do feel, however, that any changes during a student's senior year are unethical and unprofessional. Third, if Mr. Little expected his experience at the university to solely prepare him for opportunities in the entertainment industry, he simply fooled himself. And yes, technologies change, however the art of filmmaking and storytelling remain the same. The technologies are simply tools to enhance a filmmaker's story, as is a scalpel or a defribulator to a doctor. Fourth, discussing Kevin Costner's "The Postman" is completely irrelevant. Had the film been entirely financed by him (as the seniors are expected to do for their projects), I can almost guarantee that he would have demanded that he obtain creative control. That does not mean that he would have done all the work himself, but reserve the authority to choose his department heads and most qualified colleagues, and rightly so. Had it been stated in his contract with the studio that he write, produce, direct and edit the film, he would have been legally bound to do so, whether he liked it or not. So when discussing the "real world," do not include the university as an example. The educational institution is supposed to prepare the students for the "real world," not emulate it. And when discussing the "jury selection process" for students' treatments, be sure to state that students' input and numerical rating of each project have nothing to do with the selection. Three of the top five rated projects were not chosen to be produced, however the second lowest was. It is apparent that those controlling the department have no intention of considering any suggestions presented by the students. Finally, since early July, Dr. Haralovich refused to see me three separate times, having her secretary direct me towards Professor Seckinger. Only after I approached the assistant dean of Fine Arts regarding this matter did I finally receive an e-mail from her, and did not even see her until the first week of the semester began. So when Mr. Little chooses to criticize others for not getting their facts straight, he may want to first confirm that his facts are.

Shane L. Clark

Fine arts senior


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