Did the University of Florida eliminate their Computer Science department because of athletics?
Computers are our future. That mantra has been hammered home for the better part of three decades. In the 1980s, colleges began shifting their focus for major programs to computer science, technology and information systems. Their prerequisites for students included classes learning spreadsheets and databases, among other things.
Now, in 2012, one school has eliminated their Computer Science department altogether to save $1.7 million dollars. That school, the University of Florida, has suspiciously increased their athletic department budget to the tune of $2 million dollars.
Obviously this has caused a bit of an uproar with students, alums and Computer Science scholars around the globe.
Students at UF have already organized protests, and have created a website dedicated to saving the CS department. Several distinguished computer scientists have written to the president of UF to express their concerns, in very blunt terms. Prof. Zvi Galil, Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, is “amazed, shocked, and angered.” Prof. S.N. Maheshwari, former Dean of Engineering at IIT Delhi, calls this move “outrageously wrong.” Computer scientist Carl de Boor, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and winner of the 2003 National Medal of Science, asked the UF president “What were you thinking?”
In a society where almost everything we do depends on computers, this seems like an awfully strange move. We’ll wait and see if the University of Florida has any response but for the time being, it appears they’ve replaced computers for footballs.
That’s one expensive pigskin.