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October 7, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 55°F

Opinion

Ithaca College’s program priorities are out of tune.

Ithaca College began its story Sept. 19, 1892, as a music conservatory with four students. This story has taken many twists and turns, all leading up to an ironic turn of events when the college made the final decision to cut its Masters of Music program Feb. 24, 2021. Students are now feeling the repercussions of this decision. In order to remedy this issue, we as a college must honor and fund our roots in the arts.

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance’s problems began in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when the college cut four of its Masters of Music (M.M.) graduate degrees. The hole left by the graduate accompaniment is currently being filled by overworked undergraduate students. So where should students turn to find a solution?

Communication from Anne Hogan, the newly inaugurated dean of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, is a step in the right direction. She offers her ear as dean through the mtddean@ithaca.edu email, hoping to hear suggestions and complaints from students affected by the graduate program cut. Her communication is appreciated, but Hogan cannot rely on student advice alone to solve the problems at hand. She also mentions there will be “a series of meetings to get input from students and faculty, input that will be used to assess and review the graduate programs.” Her openness to suggestion is laudable, but students need a solution, or at least a temporary solution, as soon as possible.

This is not a simple issue to solve, as recruiting several new pianists would take a few years to pay off. In order to provide a reasonable workload for undergrad pianists, the college must find a way to budget professional staff to accompany when necessary. This could be done through a professional talent service or even another school. Now, as students of the college bear the burden cuts have brought on, is not the time to ignore their pleas. It is time to face the music and fund the arts.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline