The University College announced Oct. 26 it will terminate the School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality to make way for a new hospitality program within the Coles College of Business.
The new Michael Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality, set to begin in July 2018, will annex the resources of the current culinary school and will house a Bachelors of Business Administration focused more specifically on the hospitality industry.
In an email sent to students in the program, Dr. Lynn M. Disbrow, the dean of University College, said the current curriculum will continue to be offered for three more semesters.
“I know this news is not good news for those of you who may not be able to complete your degree because you were drawn to the CSH program due to your passion and love for the culinary and sustainability aspects of the curriculum as well as the professional opportunities the degree affords you,” the email read.
An additional email sent to students later that same day amended the original timeline, saying the provost had approved a proposal to continue the program through spring 2021 to give all students in the program the opportunity to complete their degrees in four years.
“I am committed to ensuring that you can complete your degree as seamlessly as possible,” said Dr. Christian Hardigree, the director of the School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality.
The decision has sparked outrage from students within the program, a handful of whom planned to protest on campus Monday. The students said they’ve been told the new business program will not include any culinary classes.
Jimmy Hallard, a freshman culinary sustainability and hospitality major, said the shift will interfere with his academic progress.
“I have to accelerate my plans because of this,” he said. “I have to stretch myself more than I already am.”
Hallard said the culinary students who will not be able to complete their degrees are now being ferried into other programs, and that many won’t be able to participate in the new business program because they don’t meet the prerequisites for entrance into the Coles College of Business.
He also said a $5 million donation from benefactor Michael Leven will be shifted to fund the new business program. The university did not confirm nor deny this claim when asked for comment.
Hallard also indicated that faculty members within the School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality have said their jobs will be terminated. He also expressed concern about the fate of Hickory Grove Farm, which is owned by the culinary school and provides much of the food served at The Commons.
The School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality is the only culinary program offered within the University System of Georgia. Hallard said this will force students who want to continue studying the culinary arts to transfer to a program within the Technical College System of Georgia or transfer out of state.
Programs like the one at Chattahoochee Technical College are only two years programs and don’t “offer the kind of business and sustainability that KSU has,” Hallard said.
Hallard said he is reaching out to culinary professionals in the community who partner with the program for their support. Students in the culinary school have also set up a Facebook page to rally support for the program.