By Cara Miller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA Provost Paul Sypherd met with journalism and communication students yesterday to address concerns regarding the proposed departmental cuts recommended by two university reports.
University of Arizona students, who nearly filled a room in the Economics building, asked pointed questions about the state of their respective departments and what they could expect in the ensuing process.
Sypherd took partial responsibility for the two reports from the Social and Behavioral Sciences panel and the Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee, which he said he tried to contain for as long as he could in order not to alarm students.
"The deans were doing my bidding. I asked them to define priorities," Sypherd said, but he declined to pass any judgments on the reports.
He said the three issues that were used as SPBAC guidelines were centrality, efficiency and quality.
Students addressed the issue first, but Sypherd did not give what audience members considered an accurate definition of centrality.
"They say communication is not central, but they don't know what central even is. They looked at journalism and said you are too applied, meaning things you can use in every day life, and they looked at communication and said you're not applied enough," said Andy Garlikov, a communication graduate student.
Despite its national ranking as the No. 1 program for scholarly activity, the Communication graduate program was recommended for a phase-out because of the small amount of applicants to the program, according to the SBS report.
"It is important that students ask some hard questions," said Cindy White, a communication graduate student.
Many students did.
Students said they were most concerned about whether their voices would be counted in Sypherd's final evaluation of the two reports.
"Once the ball gets rolling it's pretty hard to make it stop," said Mike Peters, a communication graduate student. "Our concern is that the ball started rolling on a faulty premise."
"They set the rules after they played the game," said Garlikov.
"I do feel like it's sort of a done deal," said Norma Greer, a journalism sophomore.
Anita Caldwell, a journalism adjunct professor and graduate student, said, "This is a slap to journalists nationwide. Reporters have lost their lives trying to provide information. There are jobs that are far more reaching than newspapers."
The SBS report slated the Journalism department for cuts, with the reasoning that it is a professional degree and only 30 percent of graduates nationwide obtain jobs. Elimination of the department was also recommended in the SPBAC report.
Caldwell said she picked the UA Journalism department to complete her graduate training because it is a practical program that reflects real newspaper experience. Students in attendance yesterday asked whether they were wasting their time making their opinions known, but Sypherd said it wasn't a waste of his time.
"I think we obviously have to listen to faculty and students in making our decision," he said.
But Sypherd again stressed that no final decisions had been made and the reports are only preliminary documents.
Sypherd said he wants to put the issue before the UA Faculty Senate at the group's final meeting of the semester on May 2..
He said the Senate would probably receive reports throughout the summer and would meet again for discussion and possible action in late August.
"I do not have infinite wisdom and I have not made any final decision," Sypherd said. "If anyone has any better suggestions I will gladly hand over the budget." Read Next Article