Being Black on a campus that cut Black Studies

By Sydnee Reddy
November 1, 2021

The executive-compensation package come directly from the IRS 990 tax form, required to by filed by all nonprofit institutions.

 

During the spring semester of 2021, the Cabrini community got an email stating that the school will be cutting programs and staff.

The press knew of the extent of the cuts before the students did.

In March of this year, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article announcing Cabrini’s cuts to staff, programs and also describing the amount of debt Cabrini was in Inquirer story. This was news to all students on campus because we didn’t get any email from the administration detailing the extent of the cuts before the article was published. It was only minutes after the article was published that the administration alerted students. 

The email described that the school will be cutting religious studies, Black studies, and philosophy as majors but will continue as minors and will be introduced into the core curriculum. They also completely got rid of gender and body studies, human resources management, liberal studies, and nutrition as majors but will be merging English and writing as a combined major. Along with cutting majors, Cabrini also let full-time professors go.

Infographic by Faith Pitsikoulis.

I know Cabrini is not the only school in the country that is experiencing cuts right now. Ithaca College in upstate New York also is cutting programs and faculty at their school. My only problem is that while Cabrini was still in debt, IRS 990 tax documents show that President Donald Taylor’s salary in 2018-2019 was $346,362. In that same year, his “other compensation” totaled $123,317, making his total compensation package at $477,702. This figure represents a sharp increase from his total compensation of $209,498 when he was hired, according to a private university salary survey published in The Chronicle of Higher Education

That salary package may have risen in the past two years, while faculty and majors are being cut at Cabrini. My question is:

What else is the school going to cut while the President of the university is getting pay raises and making 6 times as much as a young faculty member? 

As a black student on this campus, hearing the news that one of the majors Cabrini would be cutting was Black studies, was somewhat surprising to me. Let me explain why. I’m surprised Cabrini cut the program especially after the type of year that the black community dealt with in 2020 and how much awareness was brought to the way that black people are treated in the United States. Cutting the major that teaches students about black history and culture is just interesting to me especially for a school that one of their many marketing points is how much school supports Social Justice. 

This does not surprise me though because as a black person at Cabrini which is a PWI(predominantly white institution), it often feels as though the administration of the school does not care sometimes. Other minority groups on campus may share the same feelings as I do. Anytime there is a problem involving racism in the country, university administrators send out an email to the Cabrini community saying the school doesn’t support what is happening and puts out a message that if you need to talk, contact CAP(Counseling and Psychological Services). 

And that’s it.

After that emails go out, that is the last you hear from the administration.

Even though Cabrini only made Black studies a minor and is now introduced into the core curriculum, by making it a requirement that all students will take at least one Explorations requirement or at least one ECG requirement in a Black Studies course, or in a Black Studies-related course. In the University’s 2020-21 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council Strategic Plan, it included a goal to “Developing curriculum and courses that illuminate our commitment to anti-racist practices and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) exemplar practices. It is our thoughts that
these courses can be integrated into Cabrini’s core curriculum.” according to the University’s 2020-21 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council Strategic Plan.

Even with these decisions it still brings up many questions. For a school so focused on social justice, why didn’t Cabrini incorporate Black studies or the study of any culture into the core curriculum before they started cutting programs? This would have been a great learning experience for students at Cabrini.

I do hope that one day in the future after Cabrini gets back on track they can bring back black studies as a full-time major and also bring back the majors that are so important to the identity of this campus.

Sydnee Reddy

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