Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Layoffs at the San Francisco Art Institute
This is sad news indeed but as a former buyer and numbers cruncher for UC, I'd love to look at their budgets to see where the money is going. I remember back when I worked at UC - there was a lot of money spent for things that could have been foregone to make money for the important things. I also remember when that huge "modern" addition to SFAI was built back in the late 60's and early 70's ; the school took on a huge debt load and tuition starting going up by leaps and bounds. Tuition now is sky high and since all levels of society are suffering from the economic downturn, I wouldn't be surprised if the kids (or their families) decided that taking on a huge loan or paying beaucoup bucks from the trust fund is not a wise idea in these times. If you've got that kind of money, a degree from Berkeley or Stanford or Harvard is better value. I also think that if they'd stayed art focused and humble as they did in the "good old days," there would be plenty of students because they'd be able to pay the tuition. But now - every school has to have high-paid administrators, fancy state of the art electronics and all sorts of expensive play toys. Whatever happened to making art? In these days, even the rich can't afford that - plus there ARE NO JOBS when they finish their expensive degree.
From the Internet:
On February 6, an executive committee of the Board of Trustees and a small body of senior Administration, declared SFAI to be in a state of "financial exigency". Financial exigency is defined by SFAI's faculty union contract as "the critical and urgent need for the Institute to reorder it expenditures in such a way as to retain solvency," and essentially indicates that SFAI is in a state of extreme financial distress. Concerns have been raised about what such a declaration means for the future of the school, its reputation, accreditation, and ability to deliver a high quality education to its students.
On February 17, the layoff of the following nine tenured faculty members was announced:
Charles Boone (13 years of service to SFAI)
Stephanie Ellis (11 years of service)
Stacy Garfinkel (10 years of service)
Robert Johnson (29 years of service)
Pat Klein (25 years of service)
Jon Lang (16 years of service)
Janis Crystal Lipzin (31 years of service)
Suzanne Olmsted (17 years of service)
John Rapko (12 years of service)
"In addition to the concern that many students have for these faculty members as individuals, concerns have been raised about the specific way in which the layoffs were done and the impact they will have on the curriculum. Specifically, concern has been raised that the layoffs disproportionately affect those who have been vocal critics of SFAI's current administration, that they were carried out without discussion or transparency, and that the manner in which they were carried out violates of a number of provisions of the faculty contract."
Here's the web page about the layoffs - you'd think that kids who are paying $30,000* a year for art and design classes could do a better job - This is strictly amateur! (I've been corrected on the tuition - it is $30,138 a year. The anonymous poster commented that SFAI is not a design school but as one of the fields of study is design and technology, they could have done a much better job of designing the web page. For comparison, Stanford's tuition is $24,000 a year.)