“We were promised something that we don’t have and we’re not getting”
The students claim the facilities are terrible and that the some of the faculty is missing in action.
The Columbia Spectator reports:
With decrepit facilities and missing faculty, MFA Visual Arts students demand tuition refund
When Elsa Lama, SVA ’18, chose to attend Columbia’s Masters of Fine Arts Visual Arts program in 2016, she was drawn by the promise of participating in an interdisciplinary program with renowned faculty, peers, and the resources of an Ivy League university.
Two years later, and a few weeks from graduation, Lama, along with 51 of the 54 students in the program, has demanded a full tuition refund for the 2017-18 academic year, stating that she has not received the education that she was promised.
In her studio in Prentis Hall, Lama has faced freezing temperatures, flooding in the hallways, and pieces of limestone falling from the ceilings. She has not been able to meet several of the professors that she came to Columbia to work with, including Sanford Biggers, an internationally acclaimed artist who has been on sabbatical for more than two years. And she, along with her classmates, has spent countless hours reaching out to facilities, writing letters, and sitting in meetings with Columbia administrators.
“I came here on the premise that these were the two years of my life that I could fully invest myself and submerge myself into my practice and my work and my career, and a lot of this time was taken by writing letters and meeting with my peers so I could come up with some solution about the most basic [issues] about the roof that we’re under and the temperatures that we live in,” Lama said. “We were promised something that we don’t have and we’re not getting.”
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