University of Toledo students yesterday told their president that the resignation of the arts and sciences dean does not solve all the problems surrounding the college.
"What we're talking about is policy, not personality," said Evan Morrison, a junior majoring in history and one of the leaders of the Students in Support of Arts and Sciences group.
"I hope this changes the way the administration is treating the arts and sciences college. I hope it will never come to this again."
Yueh-Ting Lee, who had led the college since Aug. 8, recently submitted his letter of resignation, effective Sept. 19.
He gave up that post and accepted the new position of associate vice president for analysis and assessment in the human resources department about three months after a faculty council voted no confidence in his leadership.
Mr. Morrison and at least 20 students packed a town-hall meeting with UT President Lloyd Jacobs to ask questions about their continued concerns regarding budget cuts for the college, not enough faculty members, and changes or mergers of departments they feel will negatively impact their liberal arts education.
"We don't feel we're being taken care of very well," Meg Sciarini, a junior majoring in art and film, said.
She and Dr. Jacobs had a back-and-forth discussion for some time about his theory of "mass-customization" of undergraduate education.
He said he was happy for the opportunity to clarify that he meant UT should work toward individual student needs, not the apparently widely held notion to have everyone study a general education curriculum.
"I don't mean spoon-feed everyone the same thing," he said.
Students remain concerned about a recently introduced budget process that asks colleges and departments to think about how they could move 5 percent of their budget toward strategic initiatives internally and 5 percent toward a universitywide pool for the same purposes.
It was not aimed to reduce budgets by 10 percent, Scott Scarborough, UT's senior vice president for finance and administration, said.
"There never was a planned budget cut," he said. "It was always about spending more for advancing the strategic plan."
The college of arts and sciences budget was not cut in the current budget and contentions that millions of dollars have been cut in recent years are not true, Mr. Scarborough said,
Figures provided by UT show the college's budget at $51.4 million in Fiscal Year 2004 and it has grown by small increments to its current level, $56.3 million.
UT administration also responded to accusations that faculty members are not being replaced, specifically in the history department, which the students' research shows has lost seven professors in five years.
Provost Rosemary Haggett said that a new history faculty member will start in the fall and two more will be recruited to that department.
Of the 27 new faculty members at UT, 11 of them are in the college of arts and sciences, she said.
Dr. Jacobs went about 20 minutes longer than the planned one hour before calling it quits and offering to buy lunch for a couple students who still had questions for him.
"We need these discussions to put everyone on the same page," Ms. Sciarini said after the meeting. "This is a step forward, and we have to start looking forward and not bring up old grudges. There are more pressing issues, like getting a student voice on the search committee [for a new dean]."
An interim dean is to be named prior to the start of the school year Aug. 25 and the search for a permanent dean will follow an external review of the college this fall.