Little improvement with third restructuring meeting

By Eric Allen, News Staff

The third open meeting of the ad-hoc committee to discuss the possible restructuring of the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Criminal Justice was held in Curry Student Center Thursday evening with an audience of five students. The meeting was held as a second chance for students in the College of Arts and Sciences to give their opinions about the possible reorganizing, after the February 20 meeting of the same purpose was poorly advertised and attended by only two students. ‘ Led by committee chair and vice provost Mary Loeffelholz and two of the thirteen committee members, the meeting began with a brief description of the possibilities the committee is considering for the two colleges, all of which have already been released on the committee’s website, www.northeastern.edu/collegestructure. ‘ ‘This is a question that has been around the College of Arts and Sciences for quite some time,’ said Loeffelholz, referencing debate over the possible restructuring. ‘We want to get a sense of people’s feelings about that question.’ ‘ At one point in the meeting, a’ committee member remarked that there was a low turnout for the meeting, and asked if the issue was important to students. ‘ ‘A lot of people have left for spring break by now,’ said Jackie Ricci, a middler international affairs and anthropology dual major, in response. ‘ An e-mail was sent to students alerting them about the meeting after The News published a story about the first meeting’s poor attendance. However, Ricci said after the meeting that she didn’t get the e-mail announcement, but rather it was forwarded to her from a Northeastern employee. ‘ Questions were asked steadily’ in the beginning. In response to a question from attendee Todd Cormier about where the idea to restructure the colleges came from, Loeffelholz cited the fact that faculty want to work more closely wth people in their field, among other reasons. Some questions touched on issues of what Loeffelholz described as the ‘bureaucratic’ hurdles’ of taking classes outside of the college to which a student belongs and the preservation of the Northeastern core class requirements in a restructured college. ‘ When Cormier, a junior journalism major, asked if the Provost’s Office had considered reorganizing the College of Arts and Sciences to include more schools, rather than condensing programs under umbrella schools, Loeffelholz chose not to answer any more questions. ‘ ‘I’m going to stop answering questions,’ she said. ‘Could you rephrase that in a statement of the advantages of reorganizing?’ ‘ Cormier said after the meeting that he wasn’t surprised by Loeffelholz’s response. ‘ Loeffelholz continued to answer questions from other attendees, most of whom expressed concerns about taking classes outside of their respective majors if the College of Arts and Sciences were to be restructured.

‘ One student told a story about the trouble she had when she tried to take a course outside of her college. ‘ ‘I had to get waivers signed,’ she said. ‘I’d be really cautious of how [the colleges will be] broken down.’

‘ After the students were finished asking questions, Loeffelholz asked them for ideas to inform other students about the possible restructuring. One idea, agreed upon by two students, was for the committee to provide examples of other universities that have tried a similar restructuring. Loeffelholz, who declined an interview with The News, closed the meeting by asking the attendees, ‘Any other homeworks [sic] for us?’ to which she received a limited response. ‘ One committee member who did not appear at the meeting was the undergraduate student representative, Nicole Jackson, who said in an e-mail to The News that she could not attend ‘because of a time conflict.’ She did not comment on what her exact role is in informing the student body, although she said she would review notes from the meeting taken by Seamus Gallagher, an administrative assistant in the Provost’s Office, which Loeffelholz said will be available on the committee’s website. ‘ Cormier said after the meeting that he didn’t think it was about informing students. ‘ ‘They were just trying to’ gauge’ opinion,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to give an informed opinion when I’m not being informed.’

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