Dead air

The discontinuation of the communications program


   The holidays may take a stressful turn for the worse with the new program cuts at St. Clair County Community College.

Students majoring in communications will notice that broadcasting and journalism are not in the fall 2013 program catalog.

Although, don’t fret just yet, the change may not be as bad as initially assumed.

“In September of 2011, the process started to see the sustainability and viability of the programs,” said Denise McNeil, vice president on academic services.

Specifically, the communications programs were labeled as a ‘program identified for improvement’ in 2011.

A number that targeted the program, according to McNeil, was the limited amount of graduating students in the field of communications.

According to the Fall 2013 campus update given by the college president, an 8 year study revealed that an average of 22% of students enrolled yearly were in the communications program.

“Over the past 5 years, only 12 students graduated in journalism, and 9 in broadcasting. We don’t have a lot of students graduating in those programs.”

The big question at hand is whether the students currently enrolled in the program will be able to receive a degree.

“In a weird way they are grand fathered out,” says instructor of philosophy and english, Jim Soto, “No new students can come in, but those involved in the program currently will be able to finish. As the catalog changes for the next year, no new students will be allowed to come in.”

Rest assured students, SC4 graciously offers a safety net for those at risk.

“We will be working with students and we are trying to be proactive,” McNeil reiterated, “We will make sure students graduate and we will come through on our end of the deal.”

The final issue encountered with the discontinuation of the communications programs is the future of the college radio station, 91.3 WSGR, and the college news publication, The Erie Square Gazette.

John Lusk, the adviser of The Erie Square Gazette reassures students that the classes will still be offered; yet the budget will be something of slight concern.

“We will be monitoring the budget, and make sure that we still see what we see now – and that is funding for those classes.”

McNeil confirms the contrary, “No funding cuts. No, not at all.”

The discontinuation of the program still doesn’t fly right with the program director of 91.3 WSGR, Vaux Adams.

“Around 22% of students that come to this school are for communications. That’s a pretty big chunk,” said Adams, “If they are going to save the classes, good, but we will transfer out in the end.”

Although thoroughly upset, Adams says that the school is still justified in the decision.

“I’m not going to be angry at the administration for trying to make the college better, but I am angry that they gave up on the program.”

Not only was the Communications Media program in journalism and broadcasting discontinued, several other programs took a slice on the chopping block, including; Architectural Design, Green Building, Greenhouse Management, Robotics/Automation Technology (merged with Mechatronics), Horticulture, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Fabrication and Design, Facility and Energy Management and Fresh Water Biology.

As the programs like, but not limited to, communications comes to a close, students will look elsewhere to obtain a degree in the appropriate field.

“Shutting this down saddens me because kids like me can’t go here for that program anymore,” said Adams, “We communications students are all done now.”

Adams summed it up best when he stated, “The faith that comes with this program, although the following is limited, the passion is what makes this program go.”

Students will have to look to the horizon as they pursue their dreams in broadcasting and journalism, but the discontinuation will not have an effect on enrollment according to McNeil.

“When the dust settles, if people are listening and hear what we are talking about, they will see that there will be no impact on transferability of these courses,” reassures McNeil, “they will always transfer and there will not be any change.”
Brendan Buffa
Sports Editor