Earlier this week the headmaster of Sun Yat-sen University announced the closing of the university’s social work undergraduate program, igniting alarm from students and netizens. In response to the school’s announcement to dissolve the program, students wrote an open letter to the headmaster expressing their disappointment.
On May 6, the headmaster responded to upset students, saying “Sun Yat-sen University’s social work undergraduate program will temporarily halt enrollment beginning this fall semester.” This comes after the school has begun an overhaul in its enrollment procedures, but many students noted that “temporarily halting” and “enrollment reform” are not the same thing. As for the decision to dissolve the program and the future of current major in the program, the school has offered no information.
Opened in 2000, Sun Yat-sen University’s social work undergraduate program is well-established and has contributed numerous graduates to Guangdong’s social work sector which is regarded as the most advanced nationwide. Sudden news of the program’s closing comes as a huge disappointment in the field.
Many questions still remain about the dissolution of the program, such as how the university will handle current professors in the department and when the “temporary” halt on enrollments will end. In addition, many are wondering why the university notified students so late, waiting until after most people had seen the announcement on other platforms to formally inform students and faculty.
In the open letter to the headmaster of the program, students who are affected by the sudden decision demanded the school to provide an explanation for the sudden cancellation of the program, a concrete plan for those affected and a formal letter or notification to the students and faculty regarding the cancellation. Aside from these, students hope that school leaders can address the damage they have done to the school’s reputation.