Graduates, Professors Shocked, Saddened By the Cutting of their Sequences
The "Pathways Toward our Second Century" restructuring plan, a reaction to an expected $9 million deficit as a result of Hurricane Katrina and a "lower than expected" enrollment for Fall 2006, has left members of proposed suspended majors and minors in shock.
Notable programs of study that will no longer be available if the Board of Trustees approves the plan are film studies, broadcast journalism, broadcast production, computer science and computer information systems. A number of additional programs will also be suspended.
"For once in my life, I'm speechless," said Dr. William Hammel, head of the film studies sequence in the communications department. When asked how these proposed cuts will affect professors and students, he could only say "I have no idea, I really don't."
The most controversial decision concerning suspended sequences involved both broadcast production and broadcast journalism in the department of communications, the largest department in the university.
ABC 26 sports reporter and weekend anchor Adam Norris, A'97, is a graduate of the broadcast journalism sequence and expressed disbelief in cutting what he calls "one of the institution's cornerstones."
"I was absolutely shocked and saddened," said Norris. "One of the reasons I chose New Orleans was simply because of the reputation of the broadcast department."
Norris is a native of Vail, Colo.
"Not to disparage other departments, but people don't come to New Orleans from all over the country to enroll in the biology and English departments. I came 1000 miles away from my hometown, when I was 18, for the reputation of the broadcast sequence alone," he added.
The Loyola broadcast sequence also turned out local news market personalities Ed Daniels of WGNO, Travers and Fletcher Mackel of WDSU and Lucy Bustamante of WWL-TV.
It's also put three graduates in the news director positions at three local stations: WWL's Sandy Breeland, Margaret Cordes of WVUE and Bob Noonan at WGNO.
"It's an incubator for future broadcast journalists," Norris added. "To think that's not going to be there is devastating."
The elimination of majors and minors in computer science and computer information systems has struck a particularly bitter chord among its constituents, who feel they have been lied to in their decision to return despite changes in the city inherent to Katrina.
"I made the decision to return to New Orleans despite what I saw on the news and because I was told that Loyola was okay," Nolan Hughes, a computer science sophomore wrote in the reactions section of the "Pathways for a Second Century" Web site. (http://www.loyno.edu/strategicplan/comments/index.php#form)
"This will be great. Without a computer science program we'll have graduates who are unable to operate the equipment of the world they live in," added Hughes.
"It seems more could be done for those (in the computer sciences department) than just telling us our department is disappearing. I've already committed almost two years to my major, and I don't like the idea of not being able to finish at Loyola," Daniel Straight, a computer science sophomore, wrote on the Web site.
Ann-Kathryn Dal Corso, a piano pedagogy senior, was spared the stress of adverse affects resulting from the restructuring plan despite her sequence being suspended for next year. "I'm a senior, so it has no effect. It was a really strong program, so it'll be sad if they don't have it."
The admissions office will send letters to prospective and incoming students about the decisions concerning their majors.
The restructuring proposed by Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., university president must still be approved by the Board of Trustees at their May 19 meeting.
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