The administration’s unwillingness to respond to the concerns of community members at Wednesday’s town hall meeting on the proposed International Student Pathway program in the face of a pending vote is unacceptable.
Instead, if anything, Drew community members left the town hall meeting with even more questions than when they came.
Those who have been following the INTO discussion may feel like it’s been going on for a long time, but the possible partnership was only made public to the Drew community in September and will have its final vote in a month. Given the time frame, we hoped that all the pressing questions the Drew community had about the proposed program would be answered Wednesday by the administration. Instead, if anything, Drew community members left the town hall meeting with even more questions than when they came.
“We don’t know.” “We don’t have concrete information yet.” “This is still in development.” “We’re still figuring out the details.” If the town hall meeting was supposed to inform the Drew community about the proposed program, then it resoundingly failed at this task. This failure to address the reasonable concerns of students and faculty about the transformative nature of such a program is more than troubling. It gives the Drew community the impression that our feedback is not needed or wanted. Or even worse, that our concerns are not important and do not hold weight among the administrators. The Drew community has a legitimate right to understand how the program will be implemented, what will be the costs and how it will affect Drew both in the short term and long terms.
The INTO program could be a good thing for Drew. We understand the benefits that may come from such a program. It could very well transform Drew into a well-respected global institution. Yet this program could possibly worsen Drew’s financial situation as it seeks to allocate even more resources to accommodate a larger student population. There is no doubt this affects us all: administrators, staff, alumni, faculty and especially students.
This should be an all-inclusive process in which the thoughts of all members of the Drew community should be given weight. A Dec.18 deadline hardly gives the Drew community the opportunity to understand how such a program may affect Drew and the time for the administration to explain it. And so, unless the administration moves at warp speed in the next month to bring us, as well as the faculty, much needed information, we may add an unusual request to our usual refrain: don’t resolve this discussion so damn quickly!