By Anna Meurer
Let’s talk about Georgetown. And the future. Together. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock—and I don’t even accept that excuse because I’ve been hiding in Pawling writing theses and even I heard—you’re aware of the open letter that President Greene sent to the GC community detailing his vision for Georgetown and his proposed plan. By extension then, you are also aware that campus has been…tense…to put it tactfully.
For all the people that have complained for years that we need change and a new plan for the future, the letter, appropriately titled “As We Look Ahead,” when it came, was terrifying. Why? Because the plan, liberally sprinkled with words like “reset,” “discontinue” and “reductions,” seems to herald the end of several programs on campus and with them faculty and staff.
Watching your program disappear is stressful enough. Watching your favorite faculty members—your mentors, advisers, and professors—disappear with them is heartbreaking. No wonder campus is a mix of clandestine clusters and outraged outbursts.
But I’d caution the community against complete panic just yet for a few reasons. One, new as he is to campus, I trust President Greene. I trust that the selectors knew what they were doing when they hired him, and I trust him to have the college’s best interest at heart. I’m willing to give him a chance to do what he was hired to do, at least for a little bit.
Two, I trust the faculty. I trust them to stand up for their programs and for us. They showed us last year how committed they were to the idea of Georgetown College and how powerful they could be.
Finally, and most importantly, I trust the idea of the process. Of course, I’d rather see programs reduced than eliminated, and I’m sure that discussion, and several more like it, are on the horizon in the upcoming weeks.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m happy at all about potentially seeing the end of programs and majors here. Quite the opposite in fact. However, and forgive me if I sound a bit utilitarian, I care first and foremost about the survival of the institution and the community as a whole.
It’d be easy for you to say that I don’t understand because my job or major isn’t on the line, and you’d be perfectly justified. But I am a senior who has been here for four years and would be here for another ten years if I could afford it and they wouldn’t kick me out. Additionally, one doesn’t have to be in a program to recognize its value
The letter encourages the community to “approach the coming months with maturity conditioned by confidence that a plan is being pursued to achieve balanced operations and establish a footing from which the College can grow and flourish.” Normally, I’d dismiss language like that as administrative fluff. But in this case, I actually agree with it. In short: keep it together, people. Conversations, yes. Letters, yes. Tears, rain (er, snow) check. Mobs, definitely not.
So, to conclude, even if it means that we have to trim a few limbs in order to save the tree, I support that. I support it not because I think our tree is inherently diseased or doomed, but because I desire more than anything to see the tree bloom again and grow. And I think we can.