Letter: Protecting prestige

A slow murder is taking place at the University. The College of Engineering is destroying one of its own, the venerable Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. Few people have heard about the murder, and fewer still understand what is going on. It is none-the-less a murder most foul; one that we should all be worried about.

For over a hundred years, the TAM department has been at the forefront of exploring the day-to-day phenomena faced by engineers. Critical subjects such as fluid flow, metal fatigue and crack propagation, to name a few.

In recent years, the department has built up a strong and energetic undergraduate population to accompany its historic graduate population. A solid group of people, spanning through all steps of higher education, have emerged. In a country that claims to be at the forefront of technology and science, this group is a key component in maintaining our position.

And why is this terrible deed taking place? Has the department destroyed itself from the inside out? No. The sad state of affairs is the fault, the desire and the child of the Office of the Dean of Engineering. For years, a one-man war has been waged on the department. Despite a recent vote of the Executive Committee in 2004, the underhanded political machinations of the Dean have held their insistent pressure around the throat of the TAM department.

A good department is facing a bad end. Its passing will reduce the entire engineering college, bringing only hollow promises of betterment and bitter disappointment when the true magnitude of the loss is realized. It might not be your field, it might not be something that will directly affect you, but the University will diminish, and with it the whole system will shine just a little less.

Dan Widrevitz

senior in Engineering