Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Friday, December 17, 2004

St. Lawrence University Cuts Program for Poor Kids

After Thirty Years, Upward Bound No Longer at SLU

Upward Bound, a tutoring and assistance program for underprivileged area high school students, will no longer be operating at St. Lawrence University as of January 15. At that time and in perpetuity the program will be managed (and ostensibly) funded by SUNY Canton. This recent development continues the ongoing trend of the administration cutting back academic programs and services, demonstrating its commitment to its mission of "provid[ing] an inspiring and demanding undergraduate education in the liberal arts to students selected for their seriousness of purpose and intellectual promise".

Now, St. Lawrence reveals the depth of its commitment to the community where it resides and improving the educational opportunities of the underprivileged. It is known to all that the North Country is the poorest region of New York State with St. Lawrence County one of the top two poorest counties in the state with a per capita income less than $17,000. It speaks volumes to the level of concern for this impoverished community that St. Lawrence University, an institution which costs more than double the per capita income of an average North Country resident, would abandon a program which assists poor area high school students with education.

To be fair, the St. Lawrence recently after thirty years of administering the program, discovered that a North Country state school would be "positioned extremely well to serve the Upward Bound Program". Meanwhile this wealthy private school is spending its supposedly perpetually ‘meager’ resources on important matters such as providing our Dean of Residential Life a new house, our administrators new office buildings in our multimillion boondoggle Student Center, and new SUVs for campus security. Of course these items are important to advancing a liberal arts education!

Transferring Upward Bound to the management of the State is also good idea judging by past experience with the State of New York trying to annually cut HEOP and other underprivileged student financial assistance programs. Constantly struggling for resources might be what our administrators mean by "positioned extremely well". In short, this is simply a more politically correct way of annihilating a program from existence. It would be poor public relations if the administration simply cut the program, instead they will transfer for it to the cash-strapped state with a history of cutting financial assistance for college education.

Congratulations are in order for the ingenuity of our administrators. It takes a lot of effort to find new and unusual ways to stick it to the underprivileged, and we all know the people of the North Country haven’t had enough kicks in the head.


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