Controversy is brewing beneath the academic center. An August newsletter informed music professors that $75,000 would be cut from the department’s budget. But no one can seem to get straight answers from Columbian School of Arts and Sciences officials as to what exactly is going on.
Talk of pay cuts and elimination of private lessons circle the music department, but the students and professors who would be effected most directly if these cuts did occur are left in the dark.
What is clear, though, is that administrators are working hard to downplay the issue. CSAS Dean Lester Lefton dismisses the incident as a miscommunication, as he simply told the department to hold the line on spending. Miscommunication or not, GW students deserve to know the truth. GW music faculty members, many of whom are part time and on the bottom of the University pale scale, deserve to be treated with respect and should not be kept in the dark where their livelihoods are concerned.
Faculty members held an emergency meeting just prior to the start of the academic year to combat the cuts. The professors did the right thing by joining a union. Presenting a united front against the underhanded tactics of the administration may be the only way music professors retain what little compensation they currently receive.
Appearances are powerful things, and while all indications point to shady dealings between administrators and the music department, perhaps in this case there is much smoke and very little fire. But how would anyone know the truth if it is continually hidden by silence?
Answers on this and any other question put to University officials by students and faculty must be answered quickly and completely. Too often an us against them attitude develops on both sides. The current situation in the music department is merely indicative of a larger phenomenon of mistrust between administrators and the students and faculty they serve.