COLLEGE PARK -- Eliminating the College of Library and Information Services at the University of Maryland here would be similar to eliminating a medical school to pay hospital bills, a professor emeritus has told UM officials.
"The library is the core of the university," said Laurence Heilprin, a 24-year veteran of that college, which is one of nine academic programs at UM targeted for possible elimination because of budget cuts.
"If it were really carried out, it would be the beginning of the end of the university as a big university because information is the stuff everybody needs," Heilprin said.
But, because the state cut UM's budget by $27 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, there is little else that can be done, UM President William E. Kirwan said yesterday.
Faculty members crowded the Tawes Theatre on campus yesterday afternoon for an information session on the package of recommendations to cut $10 million in funding from the academic affairs division.
The recommendations are contained in the report titled "Preserving Enhancement: A Plan for Strategic Academic Reallocation" that was developed by the Academic Planning Advisory Committee.
The panel was made up primarily of faculty who advised J. Robert Dorfman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who submitted the report to Kirwan.
The report was distributed last Wednesday to college deans, program directors, department chairmen and the vice presidents for administrative affairs, student affairs and institutional advancement.
Deans of the colleges were asked to share their views with the committee.
Emergency measures to compensate for the budget cut included hiring freezes, restrictions on traveling and reductions in scholarship programs.
Kirwan lamented that College Park, because of its designation as the flagship of the UM system, had seen its budget increased by 50 percent between 1988 and 1990 and had gotten a new plan to enhance the quality of its offerings by reducing enrollment. Now UM is forced to reduce its programs, he said.
But, he said, the goal of excellence envisioned by the state legislature in 1988 should not be abandoned.
The committee also recommended the possible elimination of agricultural and extension education; hearing and speech sciences; housing and design; industrial, technological and occupational education; nuclear engineering; radio-television-film; recreation; and urban studies.
Dorfman assured both graduate and undergraduate students who already are enrolled in these programs that they would be able to earn their degrees.
But the fears of Claudia Hoffman Cozens, a graduate student in the hearing and speech sciences department, were not eased. She told administrators that even when she receives her master's degree, it might not mean anything, depending on what changes occurred.
"Sure, I can graduate with my major but I won't be clinically certified," she said.
Graduate students who want to be clinically certified in speech pathology and audiology must graduate from a department that has received accreditation, something that would be impossible to attain if restructuring of the program means reduced funding and fewer instructors, said Jill Daniel, a speech pathologist and clinical instructor.
The College Park campus has the only such program in the state that is accredited and it produces 50 percent of all graduates who work in schools in Maryland, Daniel said.
Similarly, the College of Library and Information Services is "the only school educating information professionals" in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia or West Virginia, said Frank Burke, a professor in the college who was at the meeting on behalf of his colleagues.
Like others who spoke, Burke was upset by the proposed changes.
"If I seem vague about the proper verb, it is because the documents that we have received are vague, ambivalent and even contradictory about the fate of the college," Burke said.
Workers in the College of Human Ecology wondered if they would be out of jobs as a result of the proposed elimination of the dean's office, and Kirwan assured them they would not.
"Offices have been phased out before and through a collaborative effort, people have been moved to other units on campus," Kirwan said.
Kirwan and members of the committee emphasized that the proposals were not final and would not be until they had been discussed with college faculties and deans, reviewed by the Campus Senate, which will make further recommendations, and finally approved by the Board of Regents.
"It made it somewhat easier to come up with recommendations knowing that we would be saved from our stupidity by people who are closer to their problems than we are," said Norbert Hornstein, a linguistics professor who worked on the recommendations.
But, Hornstein added, there is no way to make everyone happy in the face of such drastic budget cuts.
"Where is that $27 million coming from? Everyone is going to have a good reason to think that it shouldn't be them. Everyone is right, but that doesn't mean we can come up with $27 million," Hornstein said.