Sunday, May 18, 2008

Enough is Enough

[In response to a blog posting by Nathan Cooke regarding the hypocrisy of our "leading design educational institution."]

This is a great dialog and one that is long overdue. First of all, I care a great deal about Art Center because I'm grateful for the role that it has played in my life. Without it, I would not be the designer that I am today and I know that.

That being said, and as a recent alumna, it is frustrating to watch members of the administration continually fail to prioritize the students and education above other "academic" initiatives. In ignoring what should be its prize possession (the students), Art Center has created class after class of alumni who will never give back to their school and it has created a destructive cycle: 1) Art Center ignores students and diminishes the educational experience through bureaucracy and personal agenda, 2) Students graduate after having accrued a massive amount of loans, 3) They neither can afford nor care to give monetary donations to Art Center, 4) Art Center's endowment continues to shrink under the current administration and lack of support from its alumni body, 5) Current student tuition is raised increasing the amount of loans that the current students will have to endure and scholarships continue to shrink.

It is time for action. Time to bring the voice of the students back. Can Art Center truly continue its legacy of creating "leaders in design" if at the first sound of dissent it (Erika, Iris, Richard) attempts to silence it?

Students: You are paying for a service. If that service does not meet your expectations, you have the right to raise your voice.

Alumni: We have invested a lot in our diplomas. For some, over $100,000 in student loans have been accrued (the same as an average Harvard med student). The value of your association with the school is only as good as its current reputation. Do not let your investment depreciate under to poor guidance.

All: What are our next steps? Should we start a petition? Rather than have letters and emails trickle in one at a time to the trustees, we should make it a collective effort so that our individual bark becomes a collective roar. I am posting this comment and a link to this discussion on my blog, will others do the same?

PS: I really like the idea of t-shirts with "Education First" printed on them :)

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