Student and faculty concern over the lack of transparency and student input at McDaniel College, as well as the future of the liberal arts, was once again the center of attention on March 6 at an open town hall.
The forum addressed input over the recently announced suspension of five majors and two minors at the undergraduate level and the master’s in deaf education at the graduate level.
A few dozen students, faculty, and administrators were able to attend the town hall which was hosted by the Progressive Student Union (PSU) and Student Government Association. President Roger Casey had a previous engagement he couldn’t move for the hastily-planned event.
The goal of the town hall was to provide an open space for everyone and anyone to talk about the changes and be able to give their opinion, something that PSU said was not available throughout the process.
The decision to suspend the German, French, religious studies, art history, and music majors, announced by Casey on Feb. 23, has been praised by some and called hasty, insulting, and dangerous for the liberal arts by others, among other things.
Perhaps most prevalent in all the conversation about this decision, which was made by the College’s Board of Trustees after a period of review by a faculty committee concluded with recommendations by the president and provost in January, has been concern over a lack of transparency from top administrators and a lack of student input throughout the process.
Students spoke at the town hall about their desire to have more of a say in the future of their college, as well as their concerns over being shut out of the decision. Some event felt as though the College deliberately blindsided its community through a lack of transparency.
A number of administrators, including the associate dean for sophomore students, vice president of enrollment management and dean of admissions, and associate dean of students, were in attendance and contributed thoughtfully to the discussion.
After conversation closed, the PSU asked people to contribute their thoughts and ideas for how to move forward and continue the conversation.
The PSU posted pictures of the ideas, along with their comments, on their Facebook page, which has become more active since the College’s restructuring: