Numerous students in the Queen’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program are reasonably outraged by the process of administering the recent suspension of admissions to the program.
As a result, we’re rationally seeking as much information as possible about all issues related to this suspension and we’re garnering support from the Queen’s and Kingston community.
But why has this become a student issue at all? The administration is placing the onus on BFA faculty and students to solve their fiscal problem. This, being an administrative decision, should have come with a proposed solution for the future of Fine Arts at Queen’s.
There are numerous other issues and unanswered questions relating to the suspension of admissions.
Program graduates report that the BFA has been up for suspension at least two times in the last decade. Some say the professor intending to retire has been considering so for quite some time. If both of these items are true, it leads us to ask: how truly sudden was this decision?
Some students also wonder about the so-called “disagreements” between faculty members. Many individuals within and outside the program can attest that our professors do not get along as a faculty unit, and have great difficulty in making decisions.
But is the faculty truly split down the middle on action items? Or, is it split top-down? Are the voices of our leaders truly reflecting the voices of all BFA staff and students, or are they merely reflecting their own visions for the future of the BFA?
Over the years, the administration has continuously deprived our program of resources, and they’ve withheld the information we seek time and time again. In the end, a lack of resources and information leaves students and faculty looking incompetent and foolish, even though it’s the administration that has shaped the situation.
BFA students are open to change, but we don’t want to see the quality of our program sacrificed as a result. The Queen’s BFA program is unique within Canada and therefore is deserving of preservation. Leaving the program in its current state of suspension creates irreversible damages, even if admissions are reopened in the future.
If Dean Alistair MacLean committed to temporarily hiring an adjunct professor for one year following the upcoming retirement, the program would have the time it deserves to regroup and plan for the future. Do not let Queen’s administration sacrifice this sought-after program for the cost of an adjunct professor!
We call on Principal Woolf, Dean MacLean, the Board of Trustees and the Faculty Board to give the program another year for consultation with the entirety of the BFA program.
As Kathleen Sellars said in her Journal article last week, “if we work together,” we see a bright future for the Fine Arts program.
Chair of Fine Arts Departmental Student Council
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