Why not trust us?

Lets do some quick summary:

The University is short tens of millions of dollars over the next few years. As such, they will be cutting lots of shit. Majorly. Some such shit has already begun to be cut – renovations have been stopped, financial aid has been cut, pools haven’t been rebuilt, professors aren’t being rehired, and I’ll bet that there will be less pretty flowers plopped in the ground for Accepted Students Week. 

But soon, we are really, really going to be seeing some really, really big changes, for real. The entire academic structure of the University may well be turned on its head – see Sahar’s last post. But we need to make sure that the changes which are made – however shattering they may be – are the best possible ways to save money while preserving the University’s dedication to social justice and its academic excellence. 

Everyone agrees, or should agree, on this basic premise, whether it be the students, administration, or faculty. Since we all have the same goals, it makes clear sense that there should be close collaboration and openness about the changes being discussed among all parties.We need University officials to send out regular emails, hold regular Q&A’s, whatever – but we need to know what is going on and give our input every step of the way. This should not be too difficult. A rare meeting of a closed student committee with a Dean is not enough. 

What is more, I don’t see why the University is offering no real explanation of its plans, other than vague allusions to “budgetary problems.” I don’t quite think we’re being shock-doctrined here, but I’d like to see some hard evidence of the monetary savings projected for each and every cost-cutting measure enacted by the University. Just how much money will this meta-major idea save, and why? How much does the University expect in increased tuition revenue by accepting more students? How much did they expect to save by cutting merit aid for study abroad? Presumably, the University made these calculations.

But so far, every hypothetical and actual budget cut has been summarily introduced as a relatively done deal, with no explanation of its real cost-benefit and no indication of alternatives, much less their cost-benefit. 

Why is this stuff not made available? Why is student opinion marginalized, instead of cherished? Alex Norris put it well in a comment:

What the administrators and the Faculty Senate have failed to take into account is that we care about Brandeis, even when changes won’t affect our own academics. We want this school to succeed and are experts not only at what causes a high school student to pick one college out of the hundreds vying for attention, but what causes a college student to take pride in the institution they attend. We have remained an untapped resource.






5 responses to “Why not trust us?”

  1. Carrie

    This is no time for pessimism, Arthur. It is not a matter of whether or not we can do anything, but whether or not we attempt to do something. We cannot sit by and let quality faculty get the axe. We cannot allow the disintegration of Brandeis academics because we “felt” we couldn’t do anything. We must look outside of ourselves and fight for what we believe is best for Brandeis, whether or not those views match that of the administration.

  2. Arthur

    I am sorry, Alex. I meant embue! I merely was addressing the following,”he best possible ways to save money while preserving the University’s dedication to social justice and its academic excellence”
    I wasn’t really aware Brandeis had any obligations on the order of social justice. I support this publication’s outcry against some of the changes that have come upon Brandeis, but feel there is sadly little we can do. Money is short.

  3. hbk2369

    The University doesn’t need to do anything about social justice or the crazy activism junk that’s always so big on this campus. However, academic excellence should be the MAIN GOAL of this University.

    Look, it’s tough to realy get on the administration about the cuts and things. They should, however, make the information available about how the changes actually benefit us and the school. I wouldn’t be surprised if the changes they are making are just blamed on the budget crisis even if they aren’t being changed for that reason.

    The study abroad item probably doesn’t save the school money, it increases revenue by forcing us to pay for housing and meal plans that we wouldn’t be paying for if we’re abroad. That’s something like 6000 per student that decides not to go abroad because their scholarship doesn’t carry over. You also have to take into account the number of empty rooms there would be if these people were not here, the empty rooms are the revenue loss.

  4. Alex N

    I don’t quite see your point Arthur. Isn’t this issue all about the quality of education we “imbibe?”

  5. Arthur

    This university had an obligation towards anything outside of imbibing us with an education? That’s new to me.