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Downsizing by Any Other Name

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Letter to editor,

Students at Loyola University Chicago are heartened to see that the Reader presented a unique view on our school's financial problems [January 7]. However, the article didn't provide an adequate analysis of our disenchantment. Students attend Loyola because it has a reputation for certain academic and ethical standards. Those standards are different from universities such as DePaul and Marquette. Such standards distinguish Loyola, however they are also the most threatened.

The administration has proposed solutions and taken measures that could reduce these standards. A powerful aspect of the Loyola curriculum is its in-depth and multifacted core. With the onslaught of class section cuts, the core curriculum has suffered. Many class sizes have increased as faculty teach more introductory classes, leaving less time for research and one-on-one interaction with students. Therefore, these cuts have begun to affect all aspects of the university, as students in every discipline at Loyola take core classes. So far, dedicated faculty have continued to maintain professional and ethical integrity, but these circumstances may force them to compromise.

In conjunction with these academic fears, many Loyolans have perceived unethical behavior displayed by the administration. The administration has intimidated us by telling faculty (even in the most relevant disciplines) not to critique the cuts in the classrooms, by telling the staff to conserve on necessary materials while they suffer from downsizing efforts. They have raised tuition and have decreased funding for expanding disciplines. The administration has insulted us by expecting us to buy such propagandistic language as "academic restructuring," "program enhancement," "programmatic emphases," and "major refocusing" to describe the downsizing that we are experiencing.

In addition, they have tried to disguise their elusive behavior as being necessary. In a November 23 article in the Loyola Phoenix, Rev. John J. Piderit, SJ, said, "A wonderful characteristic of a good university is frank discussion of significant issues." But he went on to rationalize that such discussion can be misinterpreted by the "non-university community as confusion and dissention." This statement helps illustrate why many Loyolans have lost the respect and confidence that the administration needs to run Loyola University in a way that supports and reflects its mission.

Despite the administration's problems, Loyola University continues to offer a challenging education embedded with a long tradition of Jesuit service of humanity. Our observation, indeed our call to action, is that the administration's actions threaten that tradition of excellence. This is why over 500 students, staff, and faculty gathered together on December 7, 1999. We are determined to save Loyola.

Loyola Student Union

for Democratic

Communication

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