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Mace and Crown | May 25, 2018

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Got GD?

By: Jared Beasley

There is a movement of unrest rippling through the student campus and its origins are centered in the Visual Arts Building. The cause is advisors instructing students to take specific Graphic Design classes over the summer, and the same advisors and depart­ment chairs refusing to offer those classes. This has resulted in students who should have graduated with a bachelors degree in five years are now forced to stay extra semes­ters. The problems, however, do not end with just a mandatory sixth year. Many students are unable to secure financial aid as their last semesters spent taking one or two courses will not qualify them for financial aid.

To those that inquire, certain faculty mem­bers have replied that there is not enough staff available to teach the courses over the summer. Students have retaliated by directly approaching professors and asking if they were available to teach the course. The re­sponse has further confused students, when nearly all those they spoke to replied that they were able and willing to teach those ex­act courses this summer. Students struggle to stay focused for the recommended four years of university schooling, yet graphic design­ers willingly press on to finish the five-year program. As such, many of the college’s stu­dents express extreme disappointment and frustration at being required to stay and pay for even longer.

Dr. Ken Fitzgerald, head of the graphic de­sign department, was not available for com­ment, yet fourth year student Kailtyn Paulsen said, “It is not fair for them to advise us to take these summer courses, and then revoke them in the middle of a graduating class’s time here. If they want to change the pro­gram, they need to wait for incoming fresh­men that they can be advised from the begin­ning that it will be that way.” Paulsen is part of and leading a campaign entitled “Missing: Summer Graphic Design” and uses both stu­dents of the college and the University to back their struggle.

The demonstrations have provided op­portunities for the Old Dominion’s talented designers to combine all forms of art in order to attract the attention of the school. Walk­ing through the art department, there are numerous milk cartons bearing the faces of students who are suffering because of the missed courses. The cartons litter the floors, ceilings and directly in front of the head of the department’s office. As of yet, the only contact or support they have received is from fellow students.

The students continue to show their per­sistence to the cause and the idea of finish­ing a five year degree in no less than five years. On Feb. 22, Paulsen and others hosted a petition signing in the Webb Student Cen­ter and amassed multiple signatures. While the students seem to be receiving no official recognition from the school, they are press­ing forward to inspire other students facing the same dilemmas in other colleges. Their message is clear: they will not be ignored and will not stop until they have made their point.