With Each Cut, Emory Loses Something Unique
Have you heard about the cuts? They’re sort of a big deal. Student groups have organized on social media platforms and, in the case of #EmoryCuts, in front of the Administration Building to protest the work of Dean Forman and his committee.
I was worried that there would not be much of a response from the student body. I’m glad to have been proven wrong. What now troubles me is the nature of the reaction. It is a blend of evocative populism and calls for greater transparency in administrative decision-making. On these points I agree. What concerns me is that, in reaching for a solution to the long-term issue of student-administration communication, the immediate problems facing the student body over the next few years have fallen to the wayside.
But, rather than critique the rhetorical strategies of groups that I, at heart, agree with, I will provide arguments (simple though they may be) for the worth of those departments and programs that I can recollect as endangered. If I should miss something, I extend my apologies and ask for your education.
Ending the Visual Arts Department undermines Emory as a center for artistic work. Art is a fundamentally collaborative affair. For example, a school with an excellent Creative Writing program but a glut of untrained visual artists is damaged as a result. It harms organizations that depend on visual artists for everything from design to displays. It is the exposure to other artistic works that spur artists in different fields towards new ideas.
There are too few well-educated people who would know how to communicate their knowledge to others. Educational Studies instructs those students who do understand the value of knowing not just the subject they want to teach but also how to actually do that. From kindergartens to academia, the well-qualified often lack the awareness to teach well.
Re: the Graduate Programs. At a university, the vitality of the undergraduate programs are related directly to the vitality of the graduate programs. Whether it is graduate students exposing undergraduates to sub-fields of the subject or professors who depend on the work of graduate students, graduate programs are critical on all levels of any given department at a university.
The several language programs that are expected to be cut damage one of Emory’s biggest “wow” factors to potential students: the variety of study abroad experiences offered. More important than that, though, is that Emory College is distinct for the breadth of the languages offered. It is a feather in the cap, as it were.
Atlanta is one of the nation’s major hubs of journalistic work. The Journalism program is a tight-knit community of individuals dedicated to training its students in what is an often overlooked craft in the Internet era: good reporting. Depriving students of that option in the home of CNN and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is absurd.
Emory may be accurately described as a fit campus. Slashing the Physical Education department would go a long way towards undoing its students’ health!
And so on. And these are only immediate issues.
The long-term ramifications are far greater. In listing these things out, I want to help groups like #EmoryCuts to talk about the issues in a way that goes for the gut, as it were.
Keep up the good work.
Rhett Henry is a College junior from Lawrenceville, Ga.