The elimination of the Endowed Chair position in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGS) program left professor Elisa Von Joeden-Forgey without a job at Keene State College, despite her tenure. The Equinox editors believe this decision was rash and uncalled for. The HGS program is one of the school’s most advertised program for incoming students. With it being the only HGS undergraduate program in a United States college, why shouldn’t it be?
The HGS program helps Keene State College stand out from other colleges, giving it something special. It is a vital part of the college’s identity, which is why making drastically negative changes is such a disservice to not only the department, but to Keene State College as a whole.
The change to remove the Endowed Chair position was made in order to expand “scholarship and student engagement”, according to an email sent to HGS majors. The editors of The Equinox think this reason is dubious. Getting rid of Joeden-Forgey is not helpful to the students; in fact, we only see it as hurtful to the students.
The HGS majors put in their time and effort to find a class and a professor, only for it to be dropped on them that their professor is gone and the continuation of their classes is left uncertain. This is only an inconvenience to students and does not provide any incentive to spread a positive word about the program. This is a program that should have the most advertising possible; what the college has done is essentially in opposition too advertising the program.
Not only is this a detriment to the HGS majors, but it is just incredibly upsetting to see Joeden-Forgey lose her job. Keene State College has sadly already lost James Waller when he stepped down from his role last semester. Joeden-Forgey was supposed to fill that role, but that can’t happen now, as it no longer exists. Joeden-Forgey did not deserve to lose her job; she was even tenured. It is extremely unfair and selfish to just get rid of her.
With this tragic loss, The Equinox editors wonder what this means for the other departments. Will a random drastic change occur in another department? Will someone else undeserving abruptly lose their job? If it can happen to the department that has the most incentive to be advertised, it is definitely in the realm of possibility.
We consider it especially egregious to get rid of Joeden-Forgey at the beginning of the semester. There was seemingly no waiting on a decision of this magnitude of importance, and that is bizarre. We think that Keene State should have at the very least waited until the end of the semester to make a disrupted change like this. Joeden-Forgey barely got to act in her new role before losing it.
Keene State College should not be taking its professors for granted. Professors are the backbone of the college and it is dire to treat them with the respect they deserve. Getting rid of them before they are able to act much in their newly appointed role shows absolutely no respect.