Long Island University Post’s Digital Game Design program is in danger after many of its full-time professors walked out due to a number of administrative complaints. The straw that broke the camels back came by way of an allegedly non-negotiable policy requiring 100% in-person teaching amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The school is also being accused of reporting a false amount of positive COVID-19 cases on their website to reflect a lower number. An assortment of LIU faculty members have resigned amidst this fiasco, but no department was hit harder than the Digital Game Design program. The relatively small major held 60+ students, with about five full-time professors, including the department head.
incredible to me to see schools quietly report higher covid positive numbers to the government than they admit to their students/faculty. cool stuff, definitely not shady, and definitely not a danger when you require 100% in-person teaching without exception! pic.twitter.com/PRV9SQdnSb
— jane 🌹 frie(n)dhoff (@JFriedhoff) September 27, 2020
On September 28th, three of these five professors officially informed students of their resignation, which can potentially cancel classes that impact graduation, financial aid, and other factors. All resignation statements given to students have echoed the similar sentiments: this is due to compounded administrative differences, with the COVID-19 policy being the proverbial nail-in-the-coffin. The schools website details their reopening plan, saying “Long Island University will re-open all of its campuses for the Fall 2020 semester. Classes will be held in-person in accordance with all CDC and state guidelines.” This appears to confirm the 100% in-person reopening, though it does not confirm that exceptions are being completely rejected. Here is a statement from Reese Roselle, a junior in LIU Post’s Digital Game Design program:
I’m A Junior at LIU Post and have done nothing but look forward to graduating from this school to the best of my ability with a major that is full of people who care and have constantly looked out for me in places where even the school didn’t have my back. I am a commuter student who endures a total of 6 hours of commuting to enroll at one of the only schools that offer game design in New York after believing that this place would put my education as its top priority. The commute was worth it to me because the teachers that I met the past few years and how they have helped influence me to stay. Despite the financial problems that I endure, how tired i was, and the desperate search for work, I came here because those teachers let me know that my education meant something to them. Then this year came and I heard that those same teachers that have done so much [have resigned]. There is no reason for me to feel like this place is my home anymore. Those same teachers even in this moment are apologizing for something that a corrupt president has done to them and a corrupt system has put them through and that is not acceptable… with how this situation went you will never know which major is next. There is no reason a student should be going from peacefully doing their homework, looking forward to hearing their teacher say hello just to have tears brought to their eyes as they read ‘resignation’. LIU has no regard for that feeling at all. Just the money that comes with it. Congratulations LIU for sending a major that treated each other like family right back to looking for new colleges all over again, and breaking a collective to shreds. Hope the money was worth it.
Dylan Torres, a freshmen in LIU Post’s Digital Game Design program, shares his own statement about his brief experience as well, saying:
I’m a freshman here at LIU Post who lives with a single father. I’m currently unemployed, and my dad has been working nonstop for the past month and a half to afford a new house in Mineola that will shorten my commute every week. Now that my major is under such heavy fire, it makes this whole process not only feel less meaningful, but it actively leaves me at a sort of crossroads. If I were to stick it out here at Post for however long my major has left given that conditions may not improve, I’m afraid that the field I’ve been dreaming to become further educated in for all my life may not be a suitable option. Transferring isn’t an easy alternative at the time being, either; there are few alternative universities specializing in Digital Game Design I can switch to because of the distance a commute would take, and dorming poses its own risks concerning COVID. Combined with the costs associated with living in a dorm, it clearly isn’t an option that would benefit me even if my parents were to chip in. Then again, if I were to transfer, not only am I unsure of where to go, but the amount of catch-up I’d have to do- both to a new campus and a probable new style of teaching- is highly unpredictable. Having the DGD major terminated here is something I likely can’t afford based on all these uncertainties. I’d go as far to call game development my dream job. If left unaccounted for, September 28th’s events could snap me and many others out of this dream, and I don’t want to be woken up.
In the wake of student outrage, an Instagram account has been created to follow a quest for change. The account, @post_demands_council, is a student run page meant to incite change at Long Island University. A collection of students and alumni have banded together to organize ways to improve life at Long Island University. Those who wish to get involved can contact them via the Instagram account. LIU Promise officials say that the school is searching for professor replacements to avoid class cancellation, with the programs Department Chair issuing a memo to students, saying “…I understand this is highly concerning to students and their parents. We are hoping to have these classes running again shortly… I am working around the clock to resolve this.”