Liberate NYU Liberal Studies
February 12, 2018
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On Thursday, Feb. 8, NYU students met for their Student Senate Council meeting. One of the topics discussed during the meeting was the Liberal Studies program, and whether or not it should be recognized as its own school within the Senate, apart from the College of Arts and Science. We believe that LS runs independently from CAS and should therefore be recognized as its own school, both within the Senate and the university as a whole.
The SSC is made up of 23 Student Senators elected by the students of NYU’s various schools and colleges and 14 Student Senators appointed at large by the elected Student Senators. One of the senators, LS sophomore Ghania Chaudry, was active in vocalizing the the desire to designate an open Senate seat to another LS student and recognizing LS as independent from CAS. Several of the senators echoed Chaudry’s sentiment and called for LS to be recognized as its own school. The Student Senators reached a unanimous agreement in deciding that the remaining seat should be given to an LS student. This means that LS can have more say in the allocation of resources on a university-wide scale.
We agree that LS should be recognized as its own school within the Senate and be treated accordingly, and we would like to see this recognition on a larger scale within the university. LS students follow their own curriculum and attend classes separate from CAS. For example, LS freshmen and sophomores do not take Texts and Ideas, Cultures and Contexts or Writing the Essay, which are core courses for all CAS students. Also, some LS students are either required or given the option to study abroad their freshman year, and Global Liberal Studies students specifically are required to study abroad for their entire junior year. In contrast, CAS students are not required to study away. Both the LS Core Program and the GLS major have their own professors, administration and dean. Furthermore, LS is not a new program, having been introduced to NYU in 1972. What is most convincing, however, is the fact that the LS undergraduate student population is the second greatest among all of the schools at NYU, with about 1,250 students per class. Considering all these factors, it is unclear why LS would not be recognized as its own school.
Perhaps it comes down to NYU not wanting to allocate more resources to the LS program. If it was named a school, that might imply that it should have its own building and greater individualized resources. Regardless of historic reasons, it is clear that LS has its own culture, identity and structure and it should be deemed a separate school as a result of that. Until then, hopefully the added representation on the SSC will allow LS’s unique voice to be heard.
A version of this appeared in the Monday, February 12 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]