EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
Office politics caused delay
Normally, the creation of a new department at Western would
be received by students and the media (i.e. The Gazette) with
the quiet, reserved interest such a rather mundane story deserves.
But a potential new film department is in the works, and following
a summer where three out of four of the program's full-time
professors departed amid accusations of poor treatment from
the English department (which currently runs film studies),
this is a significant story.
When The Gazette first reported the exodus of professors from
film studies on Sep. 26, a few members of the Western Film
Undergraduate Society were upset, in part because the word "scandal" was
used in the story's headline. These students were worried and
rightfully so, that the story gives the perception the film
program is falling apart.
The fact of the matter is this story is a scandal. The departed
film professors fought for years for an independent department
and claim they met resistance. It seems odd that now that the
problems between the English department and the film studies
program have come to light, they are planning to create a new
Why wasn't this put into motion before the loss of a core
group of faculty members?
It is clear the department of English, the faculty of arts
and even the upper-echelon of Western administration are attempting
to save face.
The dean of arts refused to speak to The Gazette regarding
today's story and the chair of the English department did not
return our calls. Western's VP-academic Greg Moran declined
to comment on the controversy, only saying a film department
has been in the works "for a while."
But it was a joint letter from the three departed professors
to Moran following our original story that seems to have gotten
the ball rolling on the new department. Now, according to those
professors, the English department is taking credit for the
Interestingly, last week Gazette reporters were told the creation
of a new department would happen when "the time was right." Now
it is a week later and administration seems to think the time
Sadly, the time has long passed. We can't speculate as to
the details of the friction between the English department
and film studies professors, but it's likely simple office
politics has greatly damaged a solid and promising program.
The new department may be a positive move, but in many ways
it is a futile one now that quality professors are already
Although it is arguably still a growing and promising program,
film studies at Western is also now in a rebuilding phase.
The establishment of an independent department is a good start
- now film students just need new faculty to fill it.