Yesterday all the faculty (that remain) and the administration met for 3 hours.
They tried to explain to us why all of this was happening. There were bar graphs. Line charts. Financial statistics. Discussions of bond holder compliance and liquid assets and working capital.
Everything they said made sense. The reasons that they gave were fine.
The only thing I didn’t agree with is what they’re doing with tuition and scholarships. I won’t get in to that here, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. My opinion on it was expressed in the meeting and that is as far as it will go.
To say I’m still shell shocked is an understatement. I lost 21 coworkers – 4 of which I considered friends more than colleagues. We ate lunch together. We laughed together. We discussed education in each other’s offices. We discussed life together. Why were they let go and not me?
Why was I even hired in the first place? Why were the four of us who were hired full time over the summer even hired if they were just going to fire four (including one of those four who they just hired) just a semester later?
My dear colleagues in Psychology have informed me that I’m experiencing “Survivor’s Guilt”. Guilt that I lived and they didn’t. Guilt that it wasn’t me who was let go. Just plain guilt.
They passed out a “Frequently Asked Question” paper for all of us, one of them being “How did you decide which programs to cut and which ones to keep?”
They based this on enrollment in the major, the enrollment in the courses in the major, the qualification of the faculty (PhDs with experience kept over those working or having just received their terminal degree), and the potential for growth in the program.
That last one is what saved me: potential for growth in the program.
I’ve survived because of the potential that I have to make Chemistry a profitable major at this school. Which I knew was what I was hired to do.
They also made it clear that some programs/majors/faculty may also be let go after this semester is over. While I’m 90% confident that it won’t be Chemistry that is let go – there is always the possibility.
Now… it is time to get back to work…