At the risk of beating a dead horse, I am going to vent my frustrations regarding the administration's proposal to discontinue the Journalism Department.
Having just returned from the Tucson Citizen's Town Meeting at the Doubletree Hotel, my emotions are running a bit high. It seems no direct answers can be given when dealing with the issue of my graduate program possibly being eliminated. There are serious consequences of such measures, some obviously affecting me directly. Yet, the very president of my university, Manuel T. Pacheco, consistently failed to have the available knowledge to explain to me, or all the other concerned individuals at the meeting, why such considerations are being made.
Similar to the typical politician, President Pacheco was vague in his terms and unclear when hit up with some uncomfortable but glaring questions. I wasn't simply looking for reassurance that the program would remain available to future graduate and undergraduate journalism students, which was a good thing because I didn't get any. Rather, I expected that, in lieu of such a serious decision, President Pacheco would have appeared to have given the issue some serious consideration and thought. Just how seriously have they looked into the benefits that the department has to offer and the consequences of its disposal? How much time on the part of the administration has REALLY been put into possible alternatives and solutions? If President Pacheco's removed, condescending and arrogant demeanor are any indication, not much.
The proposal seems a quick-fix method to an unrealistically ideal plan of creating a "better" university. I question how much President Pacheco and Provost Paul Sypherd are really hearing regarding the program's defense. The arguments presented by a number of people, including Professor Jacqueline Sharkey, are extremely valid: A) The department is cost-efficient and B) fulfills the goals set by the university. The information appears to go in one ear and out the other as the president offers his vague response, however. "We don't have enough information to respond at this time. We don't ." They've only had "X" amount of time to think about it! As someone in the audience commented, one can't help but wonder if the administration simply threw all the UA departments in a hat and drew four to eliminate. That's how much time they seem to have put into the proposal or so it seemed in their presentation and manner this evening.
A realistic fear is that, if anything, the administration is going to become hostile toward the department because of its unrelenting persistence, thus eliminating any chance for out future survival. It was apparent that President Pacheco and Sypherd were annoyed with the reoccurring topic this evening as they made several desperate attempts to get away from the issue entirely. The more annoyed that they become the more liable they are to shut the department's arguments out entirely, which, unfortunately, is an unattractive part of human nature. It's a risk that the journalism department must take in getting to the truth, however, particularly when no direct explanations are being provided by those behind the control panels. If Pacheco's position as president was up for elimination, you better believe he would demand the most thorough of explanations.
Journalism Graduate Student
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