University President Robert A. Corrigan’s email to faculty March 21, which detailed his newest proposal to reduce the number of colleges from eight to six and suggested that faculty participate in another campus-wide referendum, comes as no surprise.
When the first referendum was in progress Feb. 11-22, it was the common perception that the vote was merely a way to allow the president and his administration to save face.
Still, voter turnout was the highest in University history; the faculty widely opposed options one and three, and narrowly accepted alternative two – the least of three evils.
Once the referendum ended, however, [X]press was pessimistic that Corrigan would follow the faculty’s decision.
And now after creating a new alternative, he is asking for the faculty to have faith that he is working toward a mutually acceptable option for the inevitable college merger.
The faith has long been drained.
In the email to faculty, Corrigan spoke of interdepartmental conversation and cooperation between the faculty and himself.
Yet the email spoke in generalities and offered no concrete evidence of such work. Despite a resounding plea from the SF State community for more transparency, Corrigan and his handpicked University Planning Advisory Council have yet to do so.
To make matters worse, his email was once again sent less than an hour before 5 p.m. on a Monday, knowing spokeswoman Ellen Griffin and influential faculty members would be unavailable, thus hindering the news cycle.
That is not transparency. It is self-serving manipulation.
However, while we disagree with his tactics, the proposal Corrigan has set forth is relatively acceptable. It keeps ethnic studies intact. The departments within the College of Business remain stable, the only additions being economics and labor studies, both rational choices. The College of Education is also unchanged.
But the proposal is not without weaknesses. Those departments currently residing in the College of Humanities have been adamant that they are not artistic disciplines. Yet, Corrigan’s new proposal unveils the College of Arts and Humanities, throwing journalism in with the theatre department and history in with music and dance.
In which capacity do these departments possess any commonalities? They do not.
Likewise, the proposal oversimplifies the different processes of the social and health sciences, combining them based seemingly on name alone.
Given the circumstances, Corrigan has created a far more acceptable proposal for the college merger. But, again, it is not without faults.
[X]press continues to believe that the college merger is a reactionary decision of a panicked, struggling University and should not been seen to completion.
Given the obstinate approach by the president and UPAC, such a scenario is unlikely. So if we must move forward with this merger, Corrigan’s newest proposal is a step in the right direction, but it is not yet there.
The administration cannot alter the entire foundation of the University without ensuring the best possible alternative.
You’re getting closer, Corrigan. But for now, do not proceed with another referendum and instead go back to the drawing board.