University shouldn’t drop standards to save money

By Gus Bode

As an SIUC alumnus and Carbondale community member, I’m deeply disturbed by recent discussions of the Budget Task Force. In particular, I’d like to comment on several proposals from your

First, there is the general approach of combining and eliminating departments. While this may be appropriate in isolated cases, it is a dangerous precedent.

Is this a university or a job mill? Fewer departments translate into less diversity and depth of study. This will greatly diminish the richness of SIUC as an educational and research community.


Second, I take special offense to the notion of merging Black American Studies, Sociology, and Women’s Studies. If these departments desire such a merger, then by all means continue. However, on the surface it strikes me as a sign that these programs are tragically undervalued by the administration. Do we really want a university primarily devoted to white American male studies, with a small Diversity Club’s department to serve as a catchall internment camp for all forms of cultural and identity studies?

Finally, I would like to applaud the proposals to address this crisis through top-level administrative restructuring.

Mr. Dunn said that the complexity of administrative structure doesn’t allow us to thumb through positions and eliminate roles. Yet the task force is ready to thumb through whole departments and eliminate them!

If the administration places itself as a higher priority than the departments, then maybe we should eliminate all administrators and start from scratch with a new, more democratic, less bureaucratic structure. Let the students and teachers decide these all-important policy issues, not the administrators!

As University departments are slowly cannibalized, I urge all students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to speak out in support of alternatives. There is no point in saving money if the quality of education is lost.