Letter to the Editor

An open letter to the Provost’s Office,

I am a professor who teaches a crime scene investigation (CSI) lab as well as several other forensic labs that need the instructional fees you have abruptly withheld without any notice to professors, chairs or deans. In your 2020 budget, signed by the Board of Trustees in June (months before you determined we were operating in a $9 million deficit), you wrote of your plans to “hold back distributions pending demonstrated accomplishments aligned with University Priorities.”

Regarding your plan, I have several questions:

  1. The forensic science program has doubled in enrollment in the past few years, with 145 current student majors. Our program is currently in the top 25 best universities to obtain a forensic science degree, according to collegechoice.net rankings. Please explain why these demonstrated accomplishments are not being recognized by your office, and you have chosen to withhold our instructional fees.
  2.  Our CJFS 3714 students pay $100 extra in laboratory fees for a CSI laboratory. The crime scene condo in Cushwa Hall, which is where we teach the laboratory for this course, was put together with a budget of ZERO dollars. Everything inside the space was either donated or salvaged from a dumpster. Meanwhile, your office projected a budget using a flat student enrollment (odd, considering the well-known fact that there are fewer high school aged students than in past generations). Please explain how our fiscally conservative purchases are being scrutinized, while your office produced a plan that is 8.9 million dollars over budget.
  3. I am a former CSI hired in 2010 to assist with growing the forensic science program at YSU. The provost, Brien Smith, has a background in marketing and business. Vice President Mike Sherman and Associate Provost Jennifer Pintar both have degrees and experience in exercise science. Vice President Neal McNally is a public administrator and business financier. Please explain how your administrative members know more about what our forensic students need for my CSI laboratory than I do. 

Respectfully,

Susan Clutter
Associate Professor
Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Department

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