In September, the administration of St. Cloud State University announced it was proceeding with plans for “retrenchment” that will result in philosophy professors, theatre professors, and librarians losing their jobs. There is the possibility that the administration will rescind these plans, and there is now a petition calling on them to do so.
The petition includes a “transformative education manifesto,” co-written by one of the philosophy professors whose position is slated for elimination:
The administration’s attack on philosophy, theatre and the library demonstrates that they view education as a disposable commodity. Instead, we believe in the transformative power of education.
The library transforms us from passive consumers of information into researchers and critical thinkers, enabling us to separate good information from bad.
Philosophy transforms passive consumers of ideas, into deep thinkers, enabling us to understand and question the institutions that shape our society.
Theatre transforms us from passive consumers of entertainment, into collaborative creators, enabling us to imagine the world as it could be.
Philosophy, theatre and the library are foundational parts of a university education. They provide the essential skills that students need to get a job, but they provide so much more! The benefits of a liberal arts education, and of philosophy, theatre, and the library, go well beyond providing the job skills that employers seek. They are key components of education as a transformative experience.
We are here to bury the notion of disposable education, to show the administration of this university that our faculty, our staff, and our students are not disposable commodities that can be churned out.
We are here to call for transformative education, the education our local and global communities need. We call upon this administration to rescind their retrenchment decision and reaffirm their commitment to critical thinking, creativity, and the pursuit of knowledge. We call upon all of you to demand a transformative education for yourselves and others.
You can sign the petition here.
Tina Gross, one of the librarians at St. Cloud who will lose her job if the plans proceed, has been keeping track of relevant media coverage and support. To see other stories on this, you can browse her spreadsheet here, and to see photos of people demonstrating their support for the targeted faculty and staff, see this page.