Dear Stony Brook University,
Stop cutting Humanities, Social Science, and Arts programs. Just stop. First, it was the cutting back of our theater and arts programs, then it was the firing of adjunct writing professors, and now it's the firing of a professor in charge of the Speech-Language Pathology program at Stony Brook for Linguistics majors and minors.
If you're unaware of how this went down, the professor in charge of the Speech-Language Pathology program in the Linguistics department just received a letter stating that he was fired with no reason given whatsoever. He was the sole professor who taught and was certified to teach courses in that program, and many students were involved in that program. With the firing of that teacher, a bunch of students were left with no idea how to progress in the program, since that program no longer existed without that professor.
This led to a petition to get that professor back and reinstall the program at Stony Brook, and it has received 1,193 signatures as of this date and is only a little bit short of its goal to reach 1,500 signatures. You can sign the petition here to show your support.
But this isn't just about keeping the SLP program at Stony Brook. It's about much more. The Dean of Arts and Sciences, as well as the university as a whole, has just been continuously cutting back on programs that don't classify as "hard STEM" classes. First Theater and Arts were gone, then cutbacks on writing, and now Linguistics is being targeted. It seems the only programs that the Dean and the University care about are hard STEM classes like Biology, Physics, Engineering, and Computer Science.
If we quietly keep letting this happen without showing our support to the recent cutbacks, we submissively allow the university to continue cutting back "nonessential" programs. What's next? Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology. Any social science, music, or arts program is at risk.
Anything that isn't wholly STEM is at risk.
Even if you aren't in the SLP program, or you don't care about writing or you hate the arts, this matters to you. If you've ever had a slight interest in taking anything outside STEM classes, you should realize that they very well might be gone soon because of the way Stony Brook is handling any programs and courses that aren't "STEM" enough.
Furthermore, even if you are a "hardcore" STEM major, I would say everyone needs the humanities and social sciences. The STEM classes at Stony Brook can be very difficult, especially biology and chemistry courses.
Theater and arts programs at Stony Brook offer students who are taking heavy STEM courses an outlet and a way to relax without stressing over their intense course load. Painting or drawing in a class for just two hours a day can be incredibly relaxing, or if you release your stress through theater that can be another coping mechanism. Social sciences provide students that maybe aren't doing so well in the hard STEM courses a relatively easy way out.
These people might find that maybe a "hard" science isn't for them and might want to go into Psychology, Sociology, Linguistics, or Anthropology.
Either way, this applies to all Stony Brook students. From the Arts majors to the Engineering majors, this affects everyone. We cannot allow Stony Brook University to continue cutting back programs that could save students from massive amounts of stress, or cut programs that many students show interest in. I like STEM classes, but I also enjoy my fair share of writing, painting, and drawing. And I would hate to see all those taken away. For your sake and for others, we need to put an end to this careless stripping of "nonessential" programs.
To the Dean of Arts and Sciences and to Stony Brook University, keep the interests of your students in mind when cutting back all these programs. Because soon they'll be nothing left but STEM. And we cannot have STEM without the arts and the social sciences.
A concerned student