ENDWELL, NY (WSKG) — Ithaca College administrators defended their move to push ahead with faculty cuts on a Zoom call with alumni and the campus community this week amid continued pushback.
Last week, the President Shirley Collado and Provost La Jerne Terry Cornish announced they would move forward with the suggestion from a working group, the academic program prioritization committee, to eliminate the equivalent of 116 full-time faculty positions from the college.
The college’s media relations office declined an interview request from WSKG, but administrators spoke during a meeting with alumni and the campus community Monday evening in an event over Zoom. During the event Collado and several other administrator’s defended the move, saying it was not solely a reaction to the pandemic, and was outlined as part of the college’s overall strategic plan.
“Out of the nine goals, very ambitious, bold, yet realistic goals in the plan, one of the most transformative goals and also one that would create anxiety for several, was recalibrating the size of the institution,” Collado said. “This was before COVID, a path and a blueprint that we had already set forth.”
During the session, the Zoom chat feature was disabled and questions were picked by moderators. Roughly half of those chosen for questions were members of the alumni association board of directors.
Faculty, students and alumni have raised many questions surrounding the process and its impact it will have on the college moving forward. Following the administration’s appearance on their official call, a group of IC community members opposed to the cuts gathered for a separate Zoom gathering where they continued discussing their concerns.
“What I see most vividly are the hole that will riddle the school, and the bodies of students, faculty, staff and alums that will writhe in the blood of this massacre,” Fae Dremock, a professor in the environmental sciences department who is set to be cut said. “This is a waste. It is shameful and it should not happen. Ithaca College is now publicly bleeding out and it does not have to be that way.”
It’s unclear what steps may exist to reverse the decision to make the cuts which will take place over the next three years as some undergraduate and graduate degrees are phased out entirely.