The other day, the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa announced that due to the pandemic, there would need to be budget cuts made to in order to continue having the school up and running. However, these budget cuts aren't just school run activities that won't be happening anymore, these budget cuts mean that certain degree programs will either be terminated or face major changes.
We get it, the pandemic hit us rough economically.
But here's what I find odd, the university didn't lower tuition rates, they didn't reduce or terminate other fees involved with the school, and they didn't refund anyone on tuition or fees from the previous semester when classes turned online. So my question is, are sports and other events that bring the public to spend money on the university the main source of income in funding the school? If so, why isn't money handled accordingly to support the academic career of the students rather than the career of sports?
I don't know the full details, though.
But that's the thing. No one does. We are all of a sudden told that budget cuts are going to happen and this includes cutting BA, MA, and Ph.D programs. Which also includes those who work in these fields. It's safe to say a lot of people are upset about the future of their academic careers and their professional careers. Currently, there have only been drafted proposals on what to do with what degree programs.
Even though these are potential changes, these are potential problems.
Looking specifically at the College of Arts, Language, and Letters within Univerisity of Hawai'i at Mānoa, there are two departments that are not receiving budget cuts but are receiving additional resources. Interesting how money cannot be stretched to all departments in order to sustain the program altogether, but you are able to give the resources to these two departments, Creative Media and Second Language Studies, that are resources that have been taken from terminated departments. These budget cuts do not just harm the students, they harm the ones who teach and mentor the students.
The other programs.
Everything else within this college faces a merge, a transition to a different college, only having a BA program versus BA and MS, or termination altogether. The two programs they wish to terminate are Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies. I don't know the reasoning and criteria behind terminating departments, but within the draft proposal they sent out I find it interesting to note that the only two degrees that are not listed to explain why changes are being made are Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies. Which also happens to be the two programs they are wanting to terminate. Shouldn't the programs being terminated be the first programs given reasoning as to why?
An undetermined future.
I should make one thing clear, if the program you're in is terminated, the university has already stated that you may continue your program until you earn your degree. However, terminating a program with students still in said program limits the resources available within the program since funding has been cut. I understand, and so do others, that there is a global pandemic happening at the moment and the effect it has had on the economy is almost too great to measure. I also understand, however, that this is not just about the fact that the university cannot economically sustain all the educational programs, it has due to the economic hardship that has been put on them due to the pandemic. These budget cuts bring to question, where did all the money go that has forced the school to terminate entire departments and entire programs in order to stay running, when the pandemic has been happening for less than a year? This isn't to say that everyone should be economically okay during this pandemic, but a school that hasn't reduced their tuition or fees for the continued semesters since the pandemic hit Hawai'i should be able to sustain more than it is. Or maybe that's too liberal of me to think.