By Jackson Elliott, Christian Post Reporter | Friday 13th November 2020Pexels.com
Executives at a liberal arts college in North Carolina want to remove some of the school’s oldest majors like math and physics while leaving new disciplines like gender and sexuality studies untouched, annoying many faculty and students.
The faculty at Guilford College, a 183-year-old liberal arts school in Greensboro that has approximately 1,500 students enrolled, issued a vote of no confidence Wednesday after the college’s interim president Carol Moore announced proposals for budget cuts and layoffs that affect the 15-year faculty majors.
Moore released an initial set of recommendations to the Guilford Board of Trustees on Nov. 6 as the college, like many others, looked for ways to get on track financially during the pandemic.
The proposed tax cuts are due to the school facing a $ 1 million budget deficit.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of freshmen has fallen across the country. Online tuition means schools will have to pay for new technology even if they lose income if students are unable to live on campus.
For Guilford, which was facing budget problems even before the pandemic, these trends forced leaders to act decisively. Under Moore’s proposed plan, Guilford College would remove 15 majors. After the cut, the school will have 23 majors.
“It is not easy to part with great people who have served our mission and our students so well,” Moore said in a statement. “Everyone in our church feels this sense of loss. As we support our colleagues in the transition, we must also unite to achieve the changes necessary that will enable us to be successful while navigating a whole new world of possibilities and complexities. “
According to The College Fix, majors threatened by Moore’s Plan include physics, chemistry, science education, creative writing, community and justice studies, forensic biology, geology and earth sciences, history, math, modern language, peace and conflict studies, philosophy and religion Studies, Sociology and Anthropology.
The 23 major subjects remaining include African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Moore, who was named interim president in August, told the news agency that the cuts were part of their plan to bridge a budget deficit of $ 7 million.
According to a statement released by the college, their proposed plan came after a “comprehensive analysis of academic and administrative programs and structures” that began in September. The results are believed to have been reviewed by faculty committees, the program prioritization task force, and the President’s Cabinet.
If school drops out on a major, the students currently studying the subject will be able to continue their work in it, the announcement said. Even after the cuts, the students can still accept minors in the subjects that have been abandoned.
“If a major that is being reviewed is removed, students can still complete their major and the program will continue to be offered as a minor,” Moore clarified during a town hall meeting at Zoom. “This is a standard process. Every institution goes through this cyclically. Majors grow in popularity, and then they lose popularity, and the institution cannot be everything to everyone. “
Affected students responded to the proposed cuts by creating a Facebook group called “Save Guilford College”. They wrote an open letter to the headmasters.
“We recognize that some changes are needed to ensure the college is sustainable in this current inhospitable climate for small liberal arts schools. But the draconian cuts currently being considered threaten to destroy the identity of the school we love, ”the letter reads.
“We fear that this new ‘version’ of Guilford will be so academically impoverished that it has lost its credibility as a true liberal arts institution and does not attract the number of students necessary to sustain the debts of the recent administrations. “
Many former Facebook group students said they wanted to give the school money to fill the budget gap. Still, Moore told The College Fix that the deficit is not a passing problem. Without a major financial change, the school would have to fill them up every year.
During a meeting on Wednesday, faculty members voted to cast a vote of no confidence in both Moore and the Board of Trustees.
“The vote of no confidence reflects deep dissatisfaction with the interim president who was hired by the Board of Trustees in August without a traditional national search process,” Heather Hayton, a professor at Guilford College, told FOX8. “It also reflects a deep distrust of the leadership of the board of directors and their ability to run the college.”
Faculty members told The College Fix that some of the cuts made no financial sense.
Guilford Physics Chairman Thom Espinola said he was “at a loss” about the school’s decision to major out of physics and that a cost-benefit study he commissioned showed that a reduction in the Department would cost the school more money.
The majors are not the only subjects that are under the control of the school. The Guilford College school newspaper reported that the college will also be reviewing administrative departments and school-funded student groups.
The school’s board of trustees will meet in December to further discuss how to address the school’s budgetary issues.
“It’s very hard to say, ‘Oh, my major, which I love so much, and my professors, who I love so much in Guilford, are no longer popular,” said Moore. “But if you look at the numbers focused, college has the budget, and like everyone else, we have our bills to pay. “