College merger comes with consequences

Sara Donchey / Xpress staff

When final exams end in less than a month and students begin relaxing for the summer, SF State’s academic landscape will begin a drastic transformation.

President Robert A. Corrigan announced April 22 that the University is moving forward with its plan to reduce the number of colleges from eight to six, with full implementation by July 1. This brings closure to a nearly year and a half process filled with closed and open (mostly closed) door meetings, administrative lip service, and faculty uncertainty. Unfortunately, the uncertainty for faculty looms.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences is dissolving; the colleges of Creative Arts and Humanities will combine. Additionally, 23 departments are being shuffled to different departments. These departments will likely become unprotected.

In an email to faculty, Corrigan justified his acceptance of the newest alternative by noting that two-thirds of faculty approved it. [X]press believes faculty merely chose the less of many potential evils and still prefers the status quo. Also, [X]press continues to believe that a college reduction, considering the minimal short-term impact on the budget, is a reactionary and inappropriate proposal. It would save at most $1.5 million from the school’s $50 million deficit.

Yet, considering the administration’s obstinacy, the University community must accept the finality of this decision and look toward the long-term implications of Corrigan’s decision.

First, neither Corrigan nor Academic Senate Chair Shawn Whalen nor anyone from the budget office has publicly stated the long-term benefits on our overburdened budget.

If fiscal efficiency is the endgame, as the University Planning Advisory Council has claimed since its inception, the administration must give the public an estimate on savings over the next five years.

Second, how will the merger affect the smaller departments and their faculty?

This has not adequately been explained. Many department chairs and faculty fear that a reshuffling would leave them vulnerable to devastating cuts. We agree.

This merger has been over-scrutinized on a short-term scale. It has not been analyzed enough for its long-term implications. Until it has, the restructure should not move forward.

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