President Hill’s Statement

vassar_hatAs many of you surely know, President Hill sent an e-mail today to faculty and students explaining the budgetary situation and the college’s response. Here’s an excerpt:

“In its staffing plan for next year, the English Department had proposed adding 11 course sections over this year’s number.  In making this request, the department was seeking to maintain current adjunct and visiting faculty members’ course loads for the coming year.  Bearing in mind our financial circumstances, we asked the department not to increase course sections but rather to reduce them by two below the number being taught this year.”

If we are to believe this statement, there’s nothing to worry about, right? Just two measly courses??

I spoke with a senior member of the English department this afternoon and heard a different story:

“As you may know, the President issued a statement today which I found extremely discouraging;  it basically shows that she’s not budging an inch, and she quotes the same numbers that the Dean has used, namely that the English Department is being asked to cut 2 courses from the number we taught this year;  in reality, since 2 full time tenured and tenure-track members are coming back into the department from leaves next year, and will teach their regular complement of courses, we are being asked to cut 11. I do hope people see through her statement.  It’s clear she’s hoping all this will just go away.”

I’ll admit that I have never met President Hill; I graduated near the end of the Fran Fergusson era. All I can attest to is the fact that I respect and trust the members of the English department; they inspired me to invest myself in reading and writing on a deeply personal level. Their courses changed me, and I’m sure many of our readers feel the same way.

I am willing to listen to Dean Chenette or President Hill if they would like to speak directly to the alumni/ae. As far as I know, no response has been given to the large number of alums who have written to many officers of the college. Let’s hope that changes soon.

-Austin Murphy ’05


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