Advocates for the Arts Initiative met in the Satow Room in Lerner at 3:00 today in order to gauge student opinion in preparation for their meeting with School of the Arts Dean Carol Becker in two weeks. At issue in the meeting will be the 30% budget cut the Arts Initiative faces for fiscal year 2011, which begins May 1. The areas from which the budget will be cut are particularly contentious since the November announcement that the Arts Initiative would be moved under the authority of the School of the Arts, meaning the Initiative’s revised budget will have to be approved by Dean Becker and her staff. Advocates for the Arts Initiative, which is predominantly led by members of CCSC and GSSC, are concerned that the move will result in the Arts Initiative benefiting SoA students, and not all University students as it has in the past.

In the meeting, which was attended by about 25 students from CC, SEAS and GS, it was clear that the students’ biggest concern over the Arts Initiative has been the lack of transparency in the direction of the Arts Initiative and in budgeting process. While AI staff have been open in communicating with student leaders, SoA administrators in particular have not been open to discussing the budget cuts. In response to this opacity, the consensus that was reached at the meeting was that the goal of the group should be to ensure some form of formal student involvement in the administration of the Arts Initiative. In other words, AAI is not trying to save the Arts Initiative so much as ensure that it continues to work for students outside of the School of the Arts.

You can sign the Save the Arts Initiative petition here.