The recently announced restoration of admissions to the Fine Arts program for 2013 is shrouded in mystery, demonstrating a lack of transparency from university administrators that has become a troubling trend. It’s a theme that has persisted since the program’s admissions for the upcoming academic year were suspended in November with little explanation or student consultation.
Back then, the suspension was justified by the administration as a funding and enrolment problem — something students in and out of the program were quick to counter.
While administrators might’ve hoped that the issue would die quietly, students were phenomenally active vocalizing the flaws in the policy. They did so through petitions and protests, effectively notifying the administration of their disapproval.
This outcry has helped admission into Fine Arts return, but the full reasoning behind the decision remains cloudy.
We don’t know whether the Fine Arts program will return in its original form next year or as a shadow of its former self. We also don’t know how these budgetary issues that caused the initial suspension were cleared up so quickly.
There are two parties that hold responsibility at this school to ensure that the return of the program is carried out correctly — the students and the administration.
Students need to continue fighting to have their questions answered. They succeeded at raising their concerns effectively in the past. There’s no reason the same methods shouldn’t be implemented once more.
At the same time, the administration needs to open up and take active steps to listen to what students have to say.
Positive strides are already being taken with the Senate Committee on Academic Development’s recent draft proposal on suspensions to program admissions. While the document recommends seeking input from the broader community before carrying out a suspension, this draft is coming too late. Admissions to Fine Arts remain suspended for 2012-13.
The administration needs to make sure that they seek student input and present any changes to the program openly before making further decisions about academic programs. Students deserve transparency.
— Journal Editorial Board
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