As the University scrutinizes over how to minimize a $135 million deficit, we have repeatedly called for transparency on the part of the administration as it “Reimagines” Cornell. Equally pivotal to this relationship, however, is that students take a real interest in the drastic, yet inevitable, changes taking place.
Future cuts are far from set in stone. Rather, colleges and departments are currently completing extensive internal reviews, with a deadline of Sept. 30 to submit suggestions to the provost about future cuts. It is critical that students think about what they value in their university and make their voices heard.
Recently, The Sun obtained a preliminary report compiled by an Ad Hoc Committee for Academic Planning in the College of Arts and Sciences. The report elucidated just how extreme measures may be and concluded that the reductions required will do “major damage” to the college. Arts is not alone, and, presumably, each of the seven colleges are going through the same process.
As students, we cannot afford to be apathetic and passive spectators as these cuts are made. Whether we graduate this spring or three years from now, these changes are going to affect us as graduates and recipients of Cornell degrees.
We hope that as the changes being outlined become more concrete, future committees will seek more input from students. But we also know that most of us aren’t doing our part.
Earlier this week, the chairs of the History Undergraduate Curriculum Committee invited students in the department to give feedback on classes and major requirements. We applaud the History Department for seeking student input. We are disappointed, though, that a mere four students showed up.
Consider it inevitable that in the wake of budget cuts, the number of professors will decrease, class sizes will increase and the University will boast fewer departments. “Any person … Any Study” may be hard to maintain, and Cornell’s motto may not hold true.
The consequence of students keeping quiet during this process will be the devaluation of our degrees. We are the people with futures riding on the success of Cornell.
We acknowledge that changes are necessary. But when it is our tuition dollars that are being redirected — and the reputation of our education is on the line — we must be more proactive in ensuring that the academic core of Cornell is preserved.