Students must make their voices heard during arts cuts
Laurier’s academic departments are facing budget cuts across the board, with each faculty being asked to make concessions moving into the next academic year.
It is important that throughout all of these cuts, the academic integrity of students’ education is not compromised and the value of an honours degree is not further eroded.
If, after four years, we want our degree to actually mean something, students need to be vocal about how we think the university should proceed with the cuts, particularly in the arts department, where, as a result of our larger budget, 1.5 per cent cuts are likely going to have a much wider effect.
The arts department, in an attempt to prevent program or faculty losses, has proposed the implementation of an honours BA Arts degree, which will allow students currently pursuing a general degree to be classified as honours.
This change in classification will allow the university to receive more funding from the government, since honours students are funded at a greater rate than those pursuing a general degree.
However, we must consider that honours degrees today already have fewer requirements than they did 20 years ago.
For instance, undergrads are no longer required to write an honours thesis, and seminar classes are significantly larger than they were in the past.
The current financial trends suggest that this erosion of specialized degree requirements is only going to continue, which will further reduce the value of an honours degree.
Laurier is asking every faculty to make cuts over the next two years; this has left both students and staff worried about the effects the cuts will have on their education and jobs.
If students want to protect the reputation of their degree, it is imperative they express their concerns directly to university administration, letting them know that they will not be satisfied with cuts that will further devalue their education.
Degree changes, such as an honours BA Arts degree, do not only affect those who may enroll in the program, but also those who graduate this year, the next or even five years down the road when one is looking for a job.
More universities pumping out more students with honours degrees will only make it more difficult to find work.
This will be especially frustrating because not all of these graduates will be as qualified as their diploma states.
There is no time to sit around and think about what we wish would happen – changes are occurring now.
The next arts council meeting is on April 9; at this time, a decision will have to be made as to what changes to implement for next year.
Either an honours BA Arts degree will be put to vote, pass and move on to academic senate, or else a decision will have to be made to cut faculty or programs.
This meeting is a chance for students to speak with administration and let everyone know how we feel.
Now is the time to voice what you believe, because your education and future are at stake.
The administration cannot in their right mind make these drastic changes if the student body stands up for the integrity of their degrees and against the honours degree mill that has become increasingly commonplace.
However, without the support of the Laurier student body, the administration will decide not only the fate of today’s honours student, but they will secure an unsure future for graduates in the years to come.