In a surprise move, Barnard has decided to rescind its funding from the Columbia Urban Experience Program (CUE) starting with the Class of 2020. In a letter sent to past CUE participants today, Dean Alina Wong cited low participation rates of Barnard students in the pre-orientation program over the last few years for deciding to terminate the school’s relationship with the program. CUE, a pre-orientation program started by Eric Garcetti (CC ’92), allows a cohort of incoming first-years come to campus a week early to do community service work while learning about major issues affecting the city.
A full copy of the email can be found below.
We appreciate the time that many of you have taken to share your thoughts about CUE with us. We have read each email, and listened at each meeting. Your deep connections and invaluable experiences with CUE are impressive to hear.
That being said, we must also weigh other factors that surround CUE, including the organization and implementation of the program; the considerable financial and staff resources expended; and its impact on NSOP and the broader Barnard community.
After much consideration and a great amount of deliberation, we have decided that beginning with the Class of 2020, Barnard will no longer participate in CUE as a pre-Orientation program. We do realize that this decision will disappoint some people, so please understand that we do not come to it lightly. While CUE offers many opportunities, overall participation has historically been limited–both by design and fiscal realities–and the number of participating Barnard students has always been low. We believe that the positive effects experienced by CUE participants should be broadened to more students, and that engagement with community agencies should be deepened. We also believe that we need to focus the College’s resources and the attention of the students on NSOP in order to enhance the entire incoming student body’s introduction and transition to Barnard and Columbia.
Many details must still be finalized with our Columbia colleagues – including the continued service of Barnard CUErs as coordinators and student leaders within the program, which we will support. We recognize the ways that CUE has been a meaningful experience to many, and understand the impact of this change. Moving forward, we plan to work collaboratively and creatively with students to develop and expand existing programs that will encourage students to engage in self-awareness and direct social action, including programs offered by Barnard Student Life, Barnard Reach Out (BRO and EBRO) and the New York City Civic Engagement Program (NYCCEP). We hope that there may still be opportunities to collaborate with CUE, understanding that this will take a different form than in the past. We hope that this creates an opportunity to develop innovative ways to engage our students and the community around us.
We are sorry to bear this bad news, and we believe it is in Barnard’s best interest at this point in time. If you would like to discuss in person, please feel free to make an appointment with me.
Dean Alina Wong