To the administration,
First of all, thank you for your effort in organizing alternatives to the Rome: Continuity & Change seminar. We also believe that there should be more than one summer program offered to second-year M.Arch. I and first-year M.Arch II students, as we come from different areas of interest and expertise.
We understand that this year was destined to be a learning process with kinks; nonetheless, we feel extreme confusion and discontent regarding the selection process for the Summer 2018 programs. Below is a list of our main concerns:
- We were under the impression that this would be a lottery entirely based on chance, with no possibility for “gaming” the system. However, there are students who put Rome as their second choice and were given a spot, whereas some people who put Rome as their first-choice were not. This seems to be objective evidence of a mistake, or at least cause for a more thorough explanation of how these names were drawn.
- We were told not to make competing plans if we were serious about these summer courses, an advisable strategy had students been placed in programs before winter recess. Pushing the decision back to January 22nd resulted in students missing crucial deadlines to apply for long-term internships and other travel fellowships.
- Information about on-the-ground costs was not shared with students prior to the decision deadline. As graduate students, we need to budget and save; additional costs are critical to our decision-making processes.
- Though we were instructed to list only programs we were interested in, we were obligated to rank two choices in the survey, meaning that some students were placed in a program they do not prefer or had no plans to attend. This seems contradictory to the stated aim of diversifying the summer course offerings, which was to ensure that students attended a program that matched their interest.
Out of a pool of nearly 70 applicants, there are 11 students who received neither their first- nor second-choice. Rejecting such a small percentage of students creates a learning environment predicated on exclusion rather than opportunity.
We represent students whom the means of selection benefitted and those it did not. This is a letter of solidarity calling out our confusion and frustration and ultimately a request that the administration rectify the faulty selection process. We do not wish for the process to be executed from the beginning once again but rather that the administration assume responsibility and offer alternative ways of productively moving forward.
The Undersigned Students
Samuel David Bruce
Erin Hyelin Kim