This Week in Villanova History:

Sinead Quinn

The Board of Trustees decided to stay with its decision to terminate the library science graduate program at its April 11 meeting.

The Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the program in December. It reviewed its decision in light of recent protest by the library science department, but had “no inclination to change our original decision,” said the Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, O.S.A. University president, April 12.

The Program Evaluation Committee (PEC) recommended that the library science graduate program and 11 others be eliminated in its final report published in March 1988, said Dr. Angelo Armenti, dean of University College and chairman of the PEC.

The library science program was terminated for financial and academic reason, said Dr. Daniel Ziegler, dean of the Graduate School.

“In the case of the library science program, it was the committee’s strong recommendation that the program either should seek and gain accreditation by the American Library Association (ALA), or should be phased out. For a number of very sound reasons, continuation of the program as it had been successfully offered for many years was not an option,” according to a letter from James A. Drobile, chairman of the Board of Trustees, which was sent in collaboration with Dobbin to respond to all of those who wrote to protest the termination of library science.

“In PEC’s view, it was inconsistent for a university of this size and stature to continue a program that could not be accredited. Either invest the necessary resources to gain the accreditation or terminate the program,” Armenti said.

“Financially, we made enough revenue ourselves to support two more faculty members,” said E. Elizabeth Walsh, department chairwoman. She explained that the library science department might be able to get accreditation if it were to offer a specialization in the area of school librarianship. “We were never allowed to discuss this [with the administration],” she added.

“We did not have a comprehensive evaluation and I’m upset about that. In 10 years we had [six] evaluations by librarians and did very well. This group of people comes along [PEC] and they’re not librarians,” she said.

Dr. Terry Erdt, library science professor, called the method of evaluation “amateurish. It was made without carefully compiling data-no one talked to the students.”

“The process was a very fair one. In my view, it was very open,” Armenti said. “The APCD [Administrative Planning Committee Deans] weighed both the PEC recommendation and rebuttal from the program in question. In the case of library science, in addition to the PEC and the library science department response, the administration went out and hired a consultant-the University went that extra mile,” Armenti explained.

Ziegler said that he was opposed to the PEC recommendation to terminate the program because there was no financial information to back up its claims.

Dr. James M. Matarazzo, associate dean and professor of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, was hired by the University to evaluate the library science department with the approval of the department, Ziegler said.

Matarazzo’s report stated that an additional three or four faculty members would have to be hired at an estimated cost of $500,000 a year to library science in order to be accredited.

“We can’t afford to allocate another $500,000 a year to library science in addition to what we’re paying,” Dobbin said.

The undergraduates would be footing the bill, Dobbin added.

Besides the protest April 6, students and supporters of library science have been writing letters to both Dobbin and Drobile, Walsh said.

Dobbin will not see anyone connected with library science, Walsh added.

“As far as I’m concerned, the decision was made in December. I’ve heard all of the relevant arguments,” Dobbin said.

“The faculty have very little role in governance,” Erdt said. In a situation where governance is so “top-down oriented,” other programs are threatened, he added.

The library science department has made claims that the PEC discriminated against minorities and ‘the female,’ as stated in the published response to the PEC report.

The response cites the recommendations to eliminate such programs as nursing, library science, political science, theatre and education as discriminatory because they enroll a large number of minorities or women, or they are directed or chaired by women.

Of the programs listed in the library science response, it is the only one that has been terminated. Spokespeople from theatre and nursing said that they did not feel that the PEC was in any way unfair or discriminatory toward their respective departments.

Walsh explained that these are not “charges” of discrimination. They are simply facts that “stood out like a sore thumb” in light of PEC’s recommendations to develop a sexual harassment policy and to “increase the minority presence on campus,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say they closed it for this reason, it’s just that as I mentioned, de facto this is what happened. The students feel as though they’ve been discriminate against,” she said.

“For anyone to claim that this action was directed in a fashion to be discriminatory towards any group is unwarranted and disingenuous,” according to a letter sent to all arts and sciences faculty from the Rev. Lawrence C. Gallen, O.S.A., vice president for Academic Affairs.

Dobbin called these claims slanderous and said that the department was simply grasping for straws in order to save it from termination.