Commentary: Students deserve answers about restructuring

By Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

Ever since Darren Costa was in high school, he knew he wanted to go into criminal justice. Growing up, his father would remind him of the importance of giving back to his country and the community. Costa checked out a number of universities including Rutgers and Drexel, but it wasn’t long until he chose Northeastern.

‘The fact that Northeastern had its own college [for criminal justice] stood out to me. It had the power to do more things on its own,’ said Costa, a middler criminal justice major.
Within a few months of his freshman year, Costa was impressed by the high caliber of professors and the co-op program.

‘I couldn’t wait for co-op,’ Costa said. ‘I was so excited. I wanted to get the basic classes out of the way and dive into the interesting stuff. I wanted to get to work and get my hands dirty.’

Costa completed a co-op in the fire safety division of Northeastern University Police Department. Costa said he had a great co-op advisor, and there were a lot of co-ops lined up, some of which didn’t pan out due to the economy. (We’ve all been there.)
And then this happened. After appointing an Ad Hoc Committee to research potentially restructuring the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Criminal Justice (CCJ), Provost Stephen Director announced Wednesday his plans to reorganize the pair into a trio. Director posted a 14-page document on the Provost’s website in which he recommended restructuring CAS and CCJ into three colleges: a College of Science; a College of Arts, Media and Design; and a College of Social Sciences and Humanities, under which CCJ would operate as the School of Criminal Justice.

Costa said this came to a surprise for a number of students, and no one really saw it coming. Why would anyone try to reorganize an up-and-coming program? One that is internationally known and recognized?

As a student in CAS majoring in journalismI can personally attest to this international recognition. Frankly, before I spoke with Costa I didn’t know much about criminal justice. Even so, while I was in high school, on the other side of the world in Greece, I was well aware of the prestigious reputation CCJ has. That’s right ‘- a person living in another country with absolutely no interest in criminal justice knew about the program. That must mean something, right?

Now, I don’t know if these changes are good or bad. The phrase ‘the more the merrier’ works. Three weeks of vacation are better than two. Are three colleges better than two, though?’ Maybe so, but I want someone to explain why. I can read through a 14-page report, but I want Director to stand in front of the university and give us the facts. Plain and simple. I haven’t conceded with either side of the argument, I just want an open discussion. Like The News has mentioned before, communication is a two-way street.
Director said the next step is to give the Northeastern community a chance to comment on the decision and present the information to faculty senate this semester. He anticipates the change to be effective July 1, 2010.

I wholeheartedly hope Director lives up to his promise to allow the everyone to voice their opinions. While the feedback the administration receives may make no differences since a date is already in place, the least it can do is allow for outside input. In the past the administration has promised openness; well, now is its time to shine.

Costa, meanwhile, said he is a little skeptical of any open forums that might take place. ‘The previous ones were hastily organized and no members of the administration really attended. I’m hoping for something different,’ he said.

I am too.

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