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Criminal Justice alumni angry

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Published on March 25, 2009 in The Huntington News

After being left out of the process since January, alumni were included last night in the discussion regarding the College Structure Initiative, which would possibly merge the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Criminal Justice. The four alumni that could attend on the short notice said they were outraged.

Some alumni and students said they did not receive notification of the meeting until later than they felt appropriate, with the e-mail to alumni arriving around 3 p.m. on Friday.

“I was one of the lucky ones that actually got the e-mail,” said Maureen Neltin, a 1978 graduate of the College of Criminal Justice. “I’m disturbed by this and the fact they only gave three business days [notice].”

Some students said they did not receive the e-mail, including junior criminal justice major Karin Pipczynski.

“I only knew about the meeting because I got an e-mail from my adviser; I don’t know how they contacted people,” she said. “They said they contacted some alumni, but one or two of the four alumni there were told by different sources.”

The meeting was hosted by the College Structure Initiative Chair and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Mary Loeffelholz, the only faculty committee member in attendance. By having 45 people voice their concerns to one person, Pipczynski said she felt as though the university didn’t want to listen to what was said.

“I’m disheartened at the fact that they are supposed to be there for the students, but the administration isn’t,” she said. “The way she made us feel was that anything we said was just an argument, and she wasn’t passionate or concerned with our feelings or beliefs.”

Nelting said she felt a negative tone from administration regarding the meeting as well, even before she arrived.

“My opinion from reading the e-mail and website is that this is a done deal,” she said. “I may be wrong, but that’s the sense I get.”

Because of coordination issues with the meetings, Pipczynski said she feels as though the university isn’t including students in the process and is trying to keep the changes a secret.

“My biggest concern is the fact the committee isn’t transparent at all,” she said. “Incoming freshmen don’t even know about this.”

If Criminal Justice is merged into CAS, Nelting said she’d be outraged, and would stop donating to the university.

“I owe my career to this college,” she said of her 38-year history of working for the federal government. “[But] I think the stature of the program would be lessened and we’d just be swallowed by a bigger college, and for what reason? I didn’t even really get that answer tonight.”

Despite Nelting’s concerns, a letter posted online by the College of Criminal Justice’s Interim Dean Chester Britt said the academics would not be affected.

“If CJ is moved into another college, it will primarily be an administrative/organizational move within the broader university,” he said in the letter. “Criminal Justice will retain its identity and the CJ faculty will continue to provide an outstanding education.”

However, Pipczynski said she feels that without the College of Criminal Justice on her diploma, it will lose its value.

“I appreciate and value the fact that my degree is known for the College of Criminal Justice and it’s know as its own college and that other alumni and people in my field recognize it,” she said.

Along with her degree, Pipczynski said she feels that the entire program will lose it’s growing reputation in the criminal justice field.

“No matter what anyone says, it’s going to lose its reputation completely along with future students and alumni power because they’re completely going against the feelings we have,” she said. “No one’s going to want to return or have to do with Northeastern because we feel betrayed.”

Loeffelholz declined to comment to The News.

Written by jdunccc

March 25, 2009 at 12:00 am