DISCLAIMER: I am a graduate of the College of Saint Rose. Class of 2008, B.S. in Music Industry. My first two years of study were within the B.S. Music Education (K-12) program. This is a personal statement on the proposed cuts to the school’s Music Education and Music Performance departments, as well as other areas of valuable study.
Music was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of its burial was signed by the President, the Board of Trustees, the Public Relations Office, and the Marketing Director. Saint Rose signed it. And Saint Rose’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything it chose to put its hand to. Old Music was as dead as a doornail.
Now years later, many removed from the halls and blocks of the College of Saint Rose, the questions of ‘Do I want to support the college with a donation?’ and ‘How much so?’ have been posed to me numerous times. Financial circumstances from year to year aside, the thought of playing a part in helping to sustain this 100 year old storied college of New York’s Capital District, and ideally the music department in particular, never came into question. The idea of helping to ensure that future students could have an equal or better experience carving part of their path in music – be it industry and business or education and performance focused – via Saint Rose’s multiple departments, was as embraceable and effortless as singing, finger tapping, or strumming is to a musician. But, even if smaller donations weren’t of the purpose-specific variety, Saint Rose as an institution always led to thoughts of pride about what and who I connected with during my time there. Thus, any support of the school as a whole was something about which I could think proudly, whether I thought about my past, the school’s present, or students of the future.
However, with the utterly blunt, proposed eradication of not only music education and performance, but also several academic departments like literacy, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and business administration – subject areas of core social function and progression – it becomes difficult, if not near impossible, to envision support in the same limitless, proud manner. Conversely, the thought of withholding any form of support, whether monetary or anecdotal, seems cruel – perhaps even disdainfully Scrooge-like – to those students who remain and continue to carve their paths in the studies that survive. Still, while Scrooge was visited by three spirits in hopes of inspiring change before his drastic and ingrained decisions went beyond the point of no return, what are Saint Rose’s students, alumni, and affected faculty – now relegated to no more than ghosts of past, present, and future – to say to now that their life-changing chapters within the school’s walls are nothing more than just that: Ghosts.
“The idea of helping to ensure that future students could have an equal or better experience carving part of their path in music – be it industry and business or education and performance focused – via Saint Rose’s multiple departments, was as embraceable and effortless as singing, finger tapping, or strumming is to a musician.”
The idea of Scrooge’s redemption wasn’t just that guilt and terrorized fear of his own demise sparked a change. It was that the events he witnessed brewed a genuine and sincere transformation of the man’s conscience and consciousness. Here in the real world, what sincerity is there now for alumni like myself to cultivate? How can one highlight a trail left to become lost to the wind? Speaking with enthusiasm and first hand fervor is now as valuable as the repeated retelling of a tale like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Such stories can continue to inspire the study and pursuit of fields Saint Rose’s administration is attempting to jettison from its sphere of influence but, in the realm of human reality, this is tantamount to advertising an expired promotion or advocating for a culinary dish now only available at a different restaurant across town. In a way, it feels fitting to say Saint Rose’s administration is attempting to cut away every experience, of every alumni, with the proposed ceasing of programs those graduates now fear they might end up mourning.
Ironically, it would seem understandable – no, necessary – to forge a path that goes in direct contrast with Dickens’ tale. While the terminal future of Scrooge was meant to be avoided and serve as a catalyst for redemption from stingy and selfish behavior, with Saint Rose starting at a point of desired termination, ending, and loss, the sensible reversal for the college’s own “Carol” tale would seem to arise instead, from holding tight to what each individual with an abandoned story knew, and continues to know, rather than freely giving feelings that can no longer be experienced or otherwise attained. The concept of hoarding one’s passion in hopes of giving others a chance to widely share an experience is certainly not how Dickens conveyed genuine connection but this is 2020 after all so…
Who says an inside-out Christmas Carol can’t save the soul of the College of Saint Rose?
The College of Saint Rose community engages highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students in rigorous educational experiences. In the progressive tradition of the founding Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, we welcome students from all religious and cultural backgrounds. In addition to developing their intellectual capacities, students have the opportunity to cultivate their creative and spiritual gifts in a diverse learning community that fosters integrity, interdependence, and mutual respect.
The College delivers distinctive and comprehensive liberal arts and professional programs that inspire our graduates to be productive adults, critical thinkers, and motivated, caring citizens. Our engagement with the urban environment expands the setting for educational opportunities and encourages the Saint Rose community’s energetic involvement and effective leadership in society.
Honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility, and the free exchange of ideas form the foundation of integrity that supports the entire community at The College of Saint Rose. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students embrace these ideals in all their interactions and communications. Members of the Saint Rose community are committed to developing and implementing clear and fair institutional policies, standards, and practices, applied equitably and humanely. In keeping with its mission, The College of Saint Rose creates a culture that continually fosters the development of personal integrity and promotes ethical behavior throughout the larger society.
–Approved by the Board of Trustees, May 2005.