Article by Solomon Syed in YNN.com, November 4, 2010:
UAlbany’s decision to cut several foreign language and other programs has gotten plenty of backlash. And now, one of the school’s professors is speaking out about it, calling on the school to level the playing field when it comes to funding athletics and academics. Our Solomon Syed has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Time to even the score: that’s the message UAlbany associate professor Brett Bowles sent school administrators in an op-ed to the Times Union, urging the school to downsize the athletic department to shoot more money into the classroom.
“I think the current crisis begs the question, “What is the core mission of a university?” said Bowles.
Administrators plan to eliminate three foreign language degree programs, as well as studies in classics and theater, because of a $2.2 million deficit in the College of Arts and Sciences, all while the sports department receives more than $4 million in state aid.
“I don’t understand why athletics couldn’t be self supporting,” said Bowles, “and why they couldn’t give their state allocation back to academic units.”
Professor Bowles argues the school should be willing to divert funds to academics because UAlbany isn’t a college sports powerhouse, but the Great Danes success on the playing field has led to a rise in new applications in recent years.
UAlbany tells YNN in a statement:
“The school has experienced more than $33.5 million in cuts to our state tax dollar allocation over the past three years. The athletic department has been impacted as well, experiencing a 22% reduction in operating funds. Many people and many committees have been looking at our budget and President George Philip has already initiated a review of the athletics program.”
“I participated in an NCAA sport myself when I was in college as a freshman,” said Bowles. “It was a great experience, but the reason I was at the university was to gain an education.”
Some students also complain about a mandatory athletics fee they’re assessed each semester and if cuts do continue in sports or academics, ultimately students will pay the price.