• 3 May 2018

Even though it has been Ranked third best university for its Master of Fine Arts program in the world by Artnet, Columbia University faces now the growing anger of its students. After the fall of parts of the ceiling of the students’ studios and the temperatures either scorching or freezing experienced by the students, the university has been severely criticized.

Young angry woman

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Columbia University: ranked third best university for the Arts

It has been several years that Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts program has been one of the most prestigious programs in the world. Indeed, Artnet News concluded in 2016 that the American university was the third most influential college in the Art world. The year 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Master of Fine Arts program. Two years later, the new Lenfest Center for the Arts opened its doors to become a cross disciplinary cultural hub in Manhattan. Great Artists were students there like Dana Schutz including at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. Art-tope published an article about the Museum’s latest exhibition about the influence of the Internet on the Arts.

Columbia University in New York

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Recurring problems for Columbia University’s Art students

Despite the tuition of 63 961 dollars which is almost twice as expensive as other top ranked Master programs, recurring incidents have had a negative impact on the students. Indeed, the campus’ buildings housing the Art students’ studios are in advanced deterioration state. It is particularly the case for the Prentis Hall. Indeed, the pipes of the building had several issues. Consequently, some of the students’ studios suffered unbelievable temperature gaps. Some were above 85 degrees and others below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A student even said his laptop melted in his studio. Also, limestone pieces fell of the ceiling some of which might have been lethal for the students passing under. The university had to install safe nets on every ceiling.

Graduation day

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The Columbia’s students refund demand

The price paid by the students to enroll Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts does not coincide with the quality of the infrastructures. Even though students insist on the quality of the faculty, they are so solicited by logistics issues that they cannot be as much present for their students as they would like to. Moreover, the tuition fees have been constantly increasing while available scholarships have been decreasing. Meg Turner, one of the 2018 class students said “ The Columbia administration wants to invest in the appearance of the arts—or invest in the appearance of investing.” She also added: “but it’s not actually listening to the needs of students, such as providing functional facilities and faculty that aren’t running around, constantly dealing with things like floods, damaged work, or canceled studio visits due to 90-degree temperatures.” The students ask for the refund of their tuition but have not obtained it yet.

Read article about the radical decision of the Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts here.

Sources: Artnet and Columbia University