Art students unsatisfied after meeting with provost

By Larissa Castanon

Cal Poly’s provost, Marten denBoer, held an impromptu meeting
last Thursday with art students to address concerns about the
recommendation to cut the Fine Arts option, though many students
left unsatisfied.

The session started with a general statement by denBoer about
his recommendation.

DenBoer said “there will be more review” and cuts will not occur
until fall 2011.

He also made a point to say that cost was a factor he had to
consider.

“If you look at the overall trend for higher education, it has
been going in one direction: down,” denBoer said.

When pressed on the issue of savings, denBoer admitted that the
figures are affected by a multitude of factors and he has no way of
knowing the true savings.

According to denBoer, the savings from cutting the Fine Arts
option would range from $100,000 to $300,000 annually, however
those savings would not be immediate.

To try to get students to understand his point of view, denBoer
described a hypothetical situation, in which he had two programs,
both in a tight situation and he could only hire for one. He asked
students to consider which program they would hire for, one that
was successful or one that was not. He also added that this hiring
decision was a matter of survival for the program.

The questions directed toward denBoer carried a tone of anger
and discontent regarding his decision. DenBoer said students should
be angry, but that anger should be focused on Sacramento’s decision
to cut funding for higher education.

Students were able to make suggestions and ask questions in a
packed room, though many were left with more questions than answers
after the meeting.

DenBoer agreed to meet with the students once more to address
any unanswered questions.

Jorge Andrade, a third-year graphic design student, expressed an
opinion that was shared by many in the room.

Andrade said with the Fine Arts program cut, it would be that
much harder for Cal Poly graphic design students to compete against
those from Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach.

“Eventually [the cuts] are going to hurt the graphic design
students,” said Andrade.

Troy Ingram, a third-year fine arts student, said he wanted to
hear a more collaborative tone among art students.

“There is a lack of concern in hearing the voice of the
students,” said Ingram.

When asked about the quality of denBoer’s answers, Ingram felt
they were “cookie cut” and he would have liked to hear a response
that was more of a game plan.

Ingram was also concerned with the variability of the savings.
He didn’t understand how such a drastic decision could be made
without exact figures.

“How is your hand forced if you don’t have all the answers?”
asked Ingram.

DenBoer said he was glad to see students standing up for their
education.

“I’m glad they [students] are angry because it shows they care
about their education,” said denBoer. “Their education is their
future, however students need to understand that the problem starts
in Sacramento.”

DenBoer said the best way for students to fight back is to get
their friends and family involved and write to California’s
lawmakers.

Reach the authors at: news@thepolypost.com

Art students unsatisfied after meeting with provost

Amanda Newfield/Poly Post

Art students unsatisfied after meeting with provost

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