Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Fight to Save PIC

As most of you know, I'm a PhD candidate at Binghamton University (SUNY) in the Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture program (fondly known as PIC). Well, we got some bad news at the beginning of the semester that I have refrained from making public because I am not on the ground (I live in Florida), and I didn't want to step on the toes of the coordinated effort of PIC faculty and graduate students. However, now it seems like we need to make this public.

The administration of Binghamton are in the processing of killing off PIC. We have been informed that future funding lines for graduate students will not be available. We also have been informed that (except for a few particular cases) students already in the program who have funding promised to them will be denied it. I currently don't have access to more details than that, but will be letting you all know as I acquire them. Right now we are trying to spread awareness of what is going on.

I feel the need to highlight two points here. The first is that the administration is cutting off funding that has been promised to current graduate students. This is something that should be that concerns not just the students of PIC, but all graduate students at BU and anyone that is considering going to graduate school at Binghamton. Your funding is not safe even if you have a letter promising funding for so many semesters or years. Unless you have signed a contract for that time period, the administration does not consider those promises worth keeping.

The second point to highlight here is the importance of PIC as a program. We are an interdisciplinary program whose work is rigorous and unique. While our program may not be absolutely unique, there are certainly few like it in the United States. While staying true to our philosophical roots, we break out of the eurocentrism that so often bedevils other programs and refuse the lazy eclecticism that so often tars the image of interdisciplinary programs. The graduate students maintain and strong cross-pollination with each other, and our collective intellectual production is often maintained with faculty both at Binghamton and elsewhere through workshops and research networks housed in our Center. This is a program worth fighting for.

I will keep you all updated as I know more, for anyone who has ideas or experience fighting these sorts of things, don't hesitate to share.