Tonight, GSSC passed a resolution and SGB issued a statement calling on the administration to “Save the Arts Initiative.” SGA, ESC, and CCSC have already passed similar resolutions (and ABC issued a similar statement), while over 1,200 students and alums have individually signed a similar petition. All of the resolutions, statements, and petitions call on the administration to take the following 5 steps to save the Initiative:
- A move out of the School of the Arts to an administrative home that reflects CUArts’ mission of serving all students, faculty, and staff.
- Increased funding from the Office of the President, and the restoration of the budget that CUArts prospered under for years.
- The appointment, with student input, of a new director whose sole job is Director of the Arts Initiative, who will have their full time to devote to the continued success of the program.
- The creation of an advisory committee that institutionalizes the student, faculty, and staff input that was formerly the hallmark of the program.
- Reinstatement of the generous subsidy for the Columbia Ballet Collaborative to perform in Miller Theater, which gives them the ability to use the one space on campus they can perform in.
To recap: The Arts Initiative used to be located in the Office of the President, until it was moved into the School of the Arts in 2009. Similarly, it used to have its own director, until director Gregory Mosher director left and was replaced in 2011 by Melissa Smey, who doubles as the director of Miller Theatre. At the time (and since), the administration said that these changes would not hurt the Initiative, but the Initiative has suffered in the last few years. One consequence: the Columbia Ballet Collaborative will soon be unable to afford performing in Miller Theatre.
Now these six student councils and governing boards (which combined represent every student and student group at Columbia and Barnard) are calling on the administration to restore the Initiative as an independent and well-funded program separate from the School of the Arts and Miller Theatre.
Here are the full resolutions passed by the student councils, statements from SGB and ABC, and the press release from Will Hughes, the CCSC VP of Policy who has led the fight to save the Arts Initiative.