Sunday, May 06, 2012

Full Disclosure and The Other Side

On Friday, I issued a tiny crie de coeur here on my little blog about string.  I told the story of staff firings at our local college from the point of view of the friends I have who worked there and from students who will be impacted by the choices made.  I framed my comments in the context of the larger picture of the way the world is going and how those in the arts are perceived. (If you didn't take the time to read the link I provided, you missed out on a lot of the context.)  The cuts made to the Keyano VPA are, in my opinion, simply a small local reflection of a larger attitude, that Oil is King, and arts don't make money.  It was, simply, another blow in the battle.  One that struck close to home

What I didn't expect was that my post would be picked up and passed along the way it was.  I figured my Mom and the six other people who read me would shake their heads, mutter that I was off on another tangent, and the world would go on.  But picked up and passed along I was.

So, after two days of silence, the college has issued an official statement in response to the outcry by not only myself, but others stunned by the suddenness of Friday's events.  You can read it in it's entirety here:

I encourage you to read this statement, and to make your own conclusions.  I also, however, stand by every word of my post as the truth as it was presented by those effected by these events.  I do realize that the official perspective and the personal perspective are vastly different.  I know that people exaggerate when telling tales to make their side look stronger, and I know that people in shock tend to use strong language.  I simply repeated the tales I was told, in the words they came to me in.  I am simply a chronicler of my experiences, and of those experiences shared with me.

I still feel that ANY cut to ANY arts education is a matter for public discussion.  I still feel that the manner in which the community was informed-or not informed-of the upcoming "improvements to arts delivery" was, at best, ham-fisted.  Perhaps, Keyano Folk, if you had been open and honest in explaining cuts and re-alignments in the first place, there would not have been the response to my post that there was.   Those six readers would have muttered, and that would have been it.

I would like to add at this point that there is a real need for trades training in our province.  I know that. I would also like to say that educational institutions do have to shift and grow as the focus of our society and economy changes.  But these changes were implemented with no warning to the college's staff, students, or community.  When change is introduced gradually, we move with it and adapt.  When you put a frog in a pot of cool water and gradually increase the heat, he will remain still until he is cooked.  When you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, he screams and tries to fight back.

So this little frog screamed a little.


  1. In this time of social media, information spreads quickly. I stand by you Michelle. You told the story that was told to you. Keyano, if they did not want a spotlight on their cuts and how they were handled, could have perhaps issued that statement sooner and avoided screaming frogs and the ones who passed along your blog. (I being one!) I think this is a fantastic lesson for Keyano College and the likes: manage information or suffer the wrath of social media.

  2. Anonymous6:53 AM

    There have been cuts to programs and staff in the past but it has never been handled so poorly. There was no communication prior to the decision other than get butts in chairs.

    I think the BOG of Keyano should look into the following: why are so vacant student residences while there are student on the wait list to get in? What marketing was done to attact the students? For intersession, what marketing was done for the courses? When was the deadline to apply. Why was this information not at the Trade Show? They could have had the deadline on April 30 at 4:30. They could have had people fill out applications. Sometimes you have to actually work at getting the word out there not sit and hope they come. Departments are at the mercy of the Marketing Department as everything has to go through Marketing even the ordering of the marketing materials. This has not worked since it was implemented.

  3. I think it was Winston Churchill that refused to cut spending for The Arts during WW2. His argument: "if there are no Arts, what are we fighting this war for".
    At the risk of evoking Godwins' Law, funding for The Arts should be the last bastion of a properly civilised society.
    Keep fighting your war. Society needs more courageous people like you.

  4. Your blog post is what started the social media ball rolling, Michelle. Kudos to you for caring enough to create the post initially.

    What Anonymous wrote above at 06:53 concerns me considerably. These are important questions. If indeed there were vacant student residences while other students remained on a waiting list, one wonders what the real reasons were for gutting the VPA program? If there was a waiting list, why weren't all the vacant spots filled? Will we ever know?

    The Arts in all its various forms constitutes the heartbeat of society.

  5. I still thank you, Michelle, for blogging about these cuts because it stirred more talks on the idea of arts being cut. No matter how small or big. This is my reaction: I just had to rant, too... Thank you for spurring me! Vive les arts!