NESAD students disappointed after meeting with President McCarthy

President James McCarthy met with students at Suffolk’s New England School of Art and Design (NESAD) recently to discuss the art school’s state of affairs, but the meeting seemed to raise more concerns than it answered for students.

“I think everyone’s worried about the school,” Tom Dempsey, a senior graphic design major, said. With budget, facility, and program issues, many students at NESAD are wondering what will happen to their school under McCarthy’s presidency and the upcoming NEASC accreditation process.

Kaitlyn Musial, a junior graphic design major and advertising minor, said students at the meeting were concerned about potential course and staff cuts. Musial said McCarthy told them all programs at the university are being evaluated in the next six months to a year, before the NEASC accreditation, and cuts may need to be made.

McCarthy could not say for sure what kinds of cuts may be made at NESAD, which Musial found hard to believe. “It seems he had some kind of idea,” she said, “I feel like he wasn’t 100 percent honest with us.”

Kellie McHugh, a certificate graphic design student, expressed concern about the longevity of NESAD and its programs.

“If five years from now this school doesn’t exist, how’s [a certificate from it] going to look,” she said.

Dempsey said the president “deflected” many of the students’ questions, directing them instead to speak with College of Arts and Sciences deans who know more about specific situations at NESAD.

“He was very unattached,” Musial said, “I wonder why we even had the meeting.”

Isabel Goodkind, a senior graphic design major, described the atmosphere of the meeting as “awkward and uncomfortable.” She wondered why the students met with McCarthy if the CAS deans are the people who know more intimately about the school’s issues.

Greg Gatlin, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Suffolk, said the president held the meeting to have a dialogue and listen to students.

“[President McCarthy] heard a lot of pride that students have at NESAD and their concerns as well,” Gatlin said.

“Everyone here wants to be more connected to Suffolk,” said Bridget Hall, a senior graphic design major. Currently located in rented space on the basement, second, and fourth floors at 75 Arlington St., NESAD is a fifteen-minute walk from the Beacon Hill campus of the university and many students feel removed from the Suffolk community.

The 20 Somerset building, located across the street from the Sawyer building, was originally slated to become the new home of NESAD, but newly approved building plans announced by the university last week have confirmed that it will instead house academic classrooms set to open in fall 2015. NESAD’s lease at 75 Arlington St. has been renewed until 2017.