GC students must transfer soon

There is new proof that the administration is working to eliminate the General College altogether.

Making significant decisions about the fate of the General College and its students behind closed doors in an orgy of secrecy is the tactic University administrators have been using from the very beginning of strategic positioning. And they have done it again!

Last December, hundreds of high school students protested the closing of the General College in the freezing cold. Their message: Inner-city youths belong at the University and the administration’s decision to cut the structure of the college in half is offensive.

Who made the decision to cut the program in half? Was it the General College faculty, staff and administration? Nope! Was it the task force responsible for the restructuring of the college? Nope! Did it come from the University’s “month of community input”? Nope! Was it written in the original strategic position report? Nope! How about the students? Nope! It came out of the air, blasting into the open like a vaporous stench without a known origin. Without dialogue, input or concern regarding the effects, Morrill Hall made a decision that places the new “general studies department” in the most vulnerable position ” destroying the fundamental roots of its “developmental education” curriculum while denying access to more disadvantaged young people.

What is the University administration’s newest cloak-and-dagger decision? The administration made promises that changes to the General College would not inordinately impinge on current General College students ” the administration now is willing to completely kick them out of the University. The administration has made another injudicious decision in absolute secrecy that will greatly affect current General College students!

In the past General College students were welcome to stay until they completed 60 credits and were then pressured to transfer to another degree-granting college. This will change in the new “dismantled” general studies department, but current students in the college should not be penalized.

Here is the new policy: Students who started in the General College in fall 2004 or earlier must transfer in fall 2006, 60 credits or not, or they will be removed from the University. Students preserve the right to petition, but the assistant dean of the General College, who will surely be pressured by Morrill Hall to act with great discrimination, will be the only person able to grant petitions of extenuating circumstances.

Goodbye to all students who may have taken a semester off and are just coming back, those who are just coming off probation or who needed extra time to develop within a college of “developmental education.” Goodbye to students who might miss an application deadline to another college.

The elite and privileged are a nonegalitarian cohort of administrators, bureaucrats, deans and tenured faculty members who in no way represent Minnesota’s diverse interests, ideas and values. We make this claim based on the fact that so many are missing. We must ask: Where is the rest of the University’s community in this decision-making process? Where is the community outside the University?

There is new proof that the administration has no moral compass, that they are working to eliminate the General College altogether and that they have no respect for task forces or “community input.” Wake up, University of Minnesota! The community beyond our privileged world here at the University already has, as evidenced in the letter from high school students in the Jan. 23 Daily.

There still is time to fight. We must recognize that equal access to a quality education and true democracy on campus only can be won when the majority makes demands upon this institution and seizes what is rightfully ours. Diversity, equality and social justice on our campus are neither granted as gifts nor exist as indelible rights. They are won by principled struggle! Contact the Equal Access Coalition or the General College Truth Movement to find out how you can help.

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