The future of CLA

CLA should preserve its diversity amidst reorganization.

Daily Editorial Board

Following the guidelines set forth in last NovemberâÄôs College of Liberal Arts 2015 Report, CLA has started preliminary planning for its reorganization. Among the plans under consideration is one that combines many CLA departments into âÄúclusters.âÄù The plan calls for ethnic studies, American studies and gender/sexuality studies clusters.
These long and cumbersome names are symbolic of some of the concerns we have as CLA takes on its reorganizing project.
Many of these departments, such as Chicano studies and American Indian studies, are already marginalized. Relegating them to a single cluster risks further marginalizing these departments both symbolically and actually. Pushing these departments under one umbrella frustrates their main offering: diversity.
Furthermore, almost every student at the University of Minnesota will take a class in the cluster with several language departments. Between the language and liberal education requirements, we wonder whether clustering these programs into a few groups will really ease the administrative burden.
However, we do applaud CLA for its good-faith effort to preserve what academic integrity it can in the wake of severe budget cuts. The college has proceeded with much more honesty and attention to academics than the UniversityâÄôs central administration has.
We worry that already-marginalized culturally diverse departments will suffer from this reorganization, since they are often the first to be cut from in hard economic times. We urge CLA to preserve the academic quality and front-line student services of each of these departments in order to maintain a diverse and vibrant University.