Today: Feb 21, 2024

Departmental changes anger students, along with the Saturday class horror

Savannah Mul – Opinions Editor

Saturday classes work for some students while for others not so much. Most students work during the weekends while their weekdays are spent on campus in and out of classes and various activities on campus.

Being a student who had to succumb to two past Saturday classes in different semesters, I said to myself after the first: never ever again. It was from 8:25 to 11:30 a.m., a journalism communication class titled Media, Freedom and Power. It wasn’t that bad, since I had the afternoon and evening to do whatever I pleased. But the next class I enrolled myself into was Digital Photography and was anything from perfect or, in some cases, educational.

This was the next photography course I needed in completing my cognate and was only offered during the Spring 2012 semester from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  My initial plan was to register for Documentary Photography, a darkroom course, but that filled up with senior registration.

By the time it was time for junior registration, the Saturday class was the only one left to fill. Hmm, I wonder why. In the end, I had no choice and enrolled.

Next Spring semester in 2013, the art department is also considering changes within the photography classrooms, they want to get rid of the darkroom. Why? I don’t know – if the chemicals and equipment are there, why not let students learn from and use it, since aren’t we the ones paying tuition? Why would removing the darkroom at Southern even be an option when there is such a high demand for them when the time of registration comes? Even when the classes are full, there are always students begging to get into the classes.  I was one of them.

With the recent class schedules for Spring 2013 posted on BannerWeb last week, I was curious to see if the rumors (surrounding the photo department) were true. They were.

Cutbacks were made within the photography art classes and how they used to offer documentary photography, they no longer do. This makes perfect sense. Get rid of the class when seniors’ need this last one in particular to graduate in the spring and to complete their major or minor. The best part is that administration doesn’t even think it would be a good idea to change the program and substitute another class for it. Sometimes Southern doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t even want to think about the mess this will cause for photo majors, when for myself, it’s causing such trouble just being photo cognate. Oh and the best part, Advanced Digital (the next class I need) is only offered on Saturday from 11:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

After the nightmare of my past Saturday class, you can only imagine my disappointment and anger to see the limited photo classes offered in Spring 2013.

I’m aware that Southern is not a dedicated art school, but we are a liberal arts college. In which Southern should provide a fair education with multiple subjects (or try to at least) to all students, but how will decreasing the photo department help increase photo majors, minors and cognates’ education.  It doesn’t.

Last semester during my Digital Photo Saturday class, it was a financial setback for me. I work a part-time job and was unable to work my shift on Saturdays. I lost out on half my paycheck and was just getting by with what I had to pay for my car, insurance and books. Maybe administrators don’t understand that students work and rely on part-time jobs on the weekends to help pay their way through college.

Even if photography major isn’t as big as English or Communications, each major should be treated the same and have more than three classes offered to students during a semester. Within my one photo class many students are angered by this change of which classes are offered and what ones are not. Many students are tossing around the phrase of “It’s like Southern never wants me to graduate, this isn’t fair.”

Currently happening until Oct. 12 is the Student’s Arts League in Earl Hall Gallery. It’s a student run exhibit featuring only photographs that were produced in the darkroom to show the impact it had on students’ learning in photography. It’s a strong effort to show how much the darkroom is needed in a photography education.

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