March 21, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 35°F


Alumni Letter to the Senior Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees, Feb. 2021

A Message to the Senior Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees:

We write to you with concern for our alma mater and the decisions that are being made by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee (APPIC), the Office of Human Resources, as well as the Board of Trustees to fire some of our most beloved and valued faculty and staff members and to downsize or eliminate programs and majors. We do not believe that these hastened decisions, expedited during a global pandemic and without meaningful community consultation, will lead to a more promising future for Ithaca College. Instead, this type of institutional shortsightedness undermines the credibility and ethos of our institution in ways that are already being felt by staff, faculty, students, alumni, and local community members alike.

The February 1st email from “IC Alumni Relations,” entitled “Ensuring IC’s Long-Term Sustainability and Vibrancy for All,” states that “IC is well-positioned to weather these times and to thrive in the future. Its ability to do so will only be made possible through proactive strategy and action.” Because the SLT has remained confident that they are in positive fiscal standing, the timing and the pace of these firings, as well as the lack of transparency concerning the budgets that justify them, leads us to question their necessity. We therefore urge consideration of available alternative measures, such as those taken at Hampshire College, and we advocate for budget disclosure as well as robust collective governance and community collaboration moving forward.

Many of us never imagined that members of our community—our mentors, our friends, and our colleagues—would lose their livelihood during a pandemic. We have heard from 37 faculty so far who have been comfortable to publicly speak about their work status at Ithaca College, though the number will likely be as high as 126 full time equivalent positions. Because faculty on part-time contracts are only considered a portion of a “full time equivalent” position, it is unclear how many people will lose their jobs to meet this number. Of those who have shared that they have been given notice, 7 are Ithaca College alumni, 2 are parents of Ithaca College students, 5 are BIPOC, and 11 people have served the IC community for 15+ years. These are people who have helped shape our lives. What the recent email calls “resizing a community” has real, long-lasting social and psychological impacts on this very community.

As the most numbered constituents of the IC community, we alumni are the guardians of a vast institutional memory. We have gone on to global careers and serve as the broadest interface with the public. We represent a wealth of diverse perspectives and, as donors, have financial stakes in the institution. We deserve to be heard.

Accordingly, we, the undersigned alumni, oppose the changes proposed in The Shape of Our College and request that faculty and staff layoffs stop immediately. As one step towards an alternative, we pledge to earmark our future donations in service of preserving these programs and positions.


Click here to sign or copy/paste:

Sarah Grunberg, Culture and Communication, ‘08, Instructional Designer, Cornell University
Sara-Maria Sorentino, Politics, ‘08, Assistant Professor of Gender & Race Studies, The University of Alabama
Anna Gardner, Art History and Film, Photography, and Visual Art, Inaugural Presidential Fellow, ‘19, Development and Communications Associate, Children of Promise, NYC
Samantha DiFalco, History and Cinema Production, ‘18, Organizer, Food & Water Watch
Christopher Zivalich, Journalism & Women’s Studies, ‘12, Public Health Advocate
Liz Alexander, Politics, Modern Languages, ‘18
Greg Peterson, History, 2009, Executive Director, Colorado Ag Water Alliance
Jessica Brock, Park – Journalism, 2007, Senior manager for social media – Smithsonian Channel
Kristen Harrison, Documentary Study & Production, 2020, Freelance Photographer
Jack Haurin, Environmental Studies 2008, 4th Grade Teacher, Philadelphia School District
Allie Clingan, 2009, Therapist
Jason Lipeles, Image Text MFA ’18, Alum
Alexander Cammy, Television + Radio, 2016, Senior Analyst, Marketing & Partner Insights @ViacomCBS
Kristina Keenan, Emerging Media, 2018, Producee
Morgan Volk, 2020, Audio Engineer
Jenna Mortenson, Communication management & design (Dept of Strategic Communication), education studies minor, 2019.
Eliana Berger, English & Writing ’20, Research Assistant
Matthew Hornick, Journalism ’18, Sports Reporter, Bristol Press
Catherine Barr, School of Music, Class of 2018, Pk-8 Music Teacher
Kristin N. McClune, 2011/HS&HHS, Children’s Librarian/EMT
Elena Roig, Class of 2017, History Department, Full-time graduate student
Elijah Breton, Sport Studies, Communication Studies; 2016, Inside Sales Representative/Amazon Web Services
Mara Hileman, Studio Art, ‘12, Museum professional
Alexander Justice Moore, Politics, 2007, President of the Senior Class of 2007, Chief Development Officer, DC Central Kitchen
Hannah R Gignoux, Politics, English; 2018 Political Science Masters Student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Wyatt Maszczak, Park ’23, Student
Noah Schaefer, Recreation & Leisure Studies ’19
Margaret Butler, Anthropology, 2017, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Northwestern University
Amelia Blevins, Writing, ’12, Editor, O’Reilly Media
Jonathan Riss, Music Education ’09, Director of Choral Activities and 8th Grade Team Coordinator, Farragut Middle School/Hastings High School, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY; Director of Music, Irvington Presbyterian Church, Irvington, NY; Frequent national, regional, and state honor choir guest accompanist
Matt Price, Class of 2020, Sports Media Multimedia Journalist, WLUC-TV (Marquette, MI)
Vanessa Calaban, School of Music ‘11
Evan Popp, Journalism, ’18, Reporter, Maine People’s Alliance
Jackie Brodeur, Cinema Production ’12, Video Editor
Raffaele Nicoletta, Anthropology & Native American Studies, class of 2020
Stephanie McCulloch, Environmental Studies and Sciences, Dance; 2016, Research Assistant at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Nicole Pouy, B.A. Environmental Studies, French and Honors Program minor, 2016, Graduate Student, Vermont Law School
Kaitlyn Gough, Anthropology Major, dual Politics + Women’s & Gender Studies Minor, Class of 2018
Alexandra Rose, Writing Class of 2020
Lindsay (Pehmoeller) Cutler, Anthropology and Politics; 2010, U.S. Department of State
Taylor Reeves Chemistry, ‘16, Attorney
Julia LaJuett, Cinema & Photography; 2017, Post Production Coordinator
Summer Killian, BA, Sociology/Writing Minor, 2001 Registered Nurse, Cayuga Medical Center
Roswell Ecker, Sociology 2018
Jordan Kolb, Roy H. Park School of Communications, 2017, UX Designer
Emma Sheinbaum, Writing, 2018, Communications & Development Coordinator for Department of History at Columbia University of New York
Emma Kast, Politics, 2014 International Politics PhD Candidate, Aberystwyth University
Amanda Reffsin, 2012, major: culture and communications, minor: deaf studies
Miles Surrey, Sports Media, ’11, Journalist, The Ringer
Maddison Murnane, Journalism, 2018, Law student
John Jacobson, 2017, eCornell Instructional Designer
Stephanie Foulkes, Sociology 2007, Admissions Manager at Vista Life Innovations
Courtney Denardo, 2016, environmental studies and nutrition promotion
Marissa Pappas, 2020, NYPIRG Project Coordinator at SUNY Cortland
Rebecca Newman, Environmental Sciences major and Philosophy minor; ’16, MBA student at Bentley University
Alan Hoff, COM ‘87, Managing Director, Monadnock Media Inc.
Cassandra Moore, Planned Studies, 2016
Paula Merkle, Anthropology major and Environmental Studies minor; 2018
Jessica Kuts, Economics & Politics; 2019, Bartender
Sam Castonguay, 2018, Sociology, Sociology Graduate Student and ADVANCE Research Assistant, Washington State University
Adam Netzer Zimmer, Anthropology & Music, 2013, Ph.D. Candidate & NSF-Fulbright Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst/University of Iceland
Micaela Wilner, Television and Radio, Honors Program; 2020, Associate Producer/Office PA
Griffin Taylor 2016-2017, Freshman Anthropology Ph.D student
Harrison Malkin, Politics 2020, Writer, cook
Alexander Perry, Sociology, Spanish; 2020
Maxwell Bednarcyk, TVR ’20, Assembly Technician/Operator
Chris H. Kim, Sociology, 2018, Research Technician at Cornell University; Research Intern at the Pan American Development Foundation
David K. Johnson, Philosophy and Religion, 2015, PhD Candidate, Johns Hopkins University
Colleen Keifer, 1990 BFA Theatrical Production Arts, Kindergarten Teacher – ICSD
Jennifer Chen, Environmental Studies, Politics & Italian; 2008
James Buzzell, Class of 2012, B.A. Philosophy, Minor in Politics, Land Use Planner, City of Lewiston Maine
Ron Basak-smith, 2011 sociology and politics, Ceo sana packaging
Ryah Belford, Culture & Communication, 2011
Mary McKean, Environmental Studies; Minors in Communication Studies and Outdoor Pursuits 2015, National Park Service Planning Specialist
Tara Eng, Documentary Studies & Production, ’20
Kaylee Warner, ENVS 2018, Americorps Mentor
Nicole Hendrickson, B.S. Business Administration, ’08, Senior Director of Social, The Dodo
Kalia C Armbruster, Writing, 2007 Senior Associate, Verbal Branding
Shea O’Neill, History; 2007 graduate, Vice President of Research
Sarah Tate Richmond, B.A., Politics/Minor in Writing, ’88, VP, Development
Page Schrock, 2003 BA Politics, minor in Economics, Solution Consultant
Ernest Backus, School of Music BM Music Performance / Education, Music Theory ’07, MM Music Education ’14, High School Chorus and Music Theory, Vestal, NY
Norah Baker (née Sweeney), Journalism, 2012, Higher education administrator
Jennifer Pham BM Music Education ‘14, Band Teacher, Endwell, NY
Emily Waltz, Bachelor in Performance and Music Education 201, Freelance musician and teacher