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13 April 2010

Dear Members of the Student Representative Assembly:

I am the elected undergraduate representative on the Board of Governors of McMaster

University. I am also the former Speaker of the McMaster Students Union, elected in 2008 and
reelected in 2009.

The Art History program needs your support. The student senators need your support.
And I need your support.

On Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 15:00 in Gilmour Hall room 111, the Senate will vote
on a motion to close the Art History program. Students in the program allege that the University
Administration did not adequately consult students, faculty, and other interested parties, and that
the decision is not in the strategic interest of the University. I have attached their concerns.

I will not attempt to supply arguments in support of or in opposition to the closure of the
Art History program. Instead, I will appeal to you in your capacity as the officially recognized
voice of the undergraduate students at McMaster.

On behalf of the students of Art History, I ask that you call a referendum. Please see the
attached petition. It requires a majority of your signatures, which may be in the form of an
electronic response to the Speaker, Ms. Yaqubian (

The referendum would ask students whether they support the closure of the Art History
program. It would not commit the MSU to a position on the closure of the program. Instead, it
would create a public forum for proper debate. The voices of students in the program and
dissenting students in the Faculty of Humanities, and the undergraduate community at large,
would be heard by the MSU and the University.

Rather than appear as a snap decision, a call by the MSU for a referendum would, quite
to the contrary, demonstrate the MSU’s capacity to organize and mobilize in support of student
interests, restoring the Union’s status as an active party to campus decision making.

I believe that it is incumbent on you to act in support of student consultation. Time is

short and you are a new assembly, but the students of Art History cannot wait while you train.
The student senators need your support now. This petition would show the Senate that the
student body stands behind the student senators. It would be imprudent for the University to
ignore such a strong commitment to consultation.

The McMaster Association of Part-Time Students (MAPS) has assured me that, pending
approval by the Senate of a motion to defer, and provided that the MSU calls a referendum, it too
would call a referendum amongst MAPS members to provide the part-time student with voice to
the issue, as well.
Please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your attention.

Your Sincerely,

Norman M. Kearney
Undergraduate Representative
Board of Governors
McMaster University

T: 905.521.0909 x 225
M: 905.379.0688
F: 905.521.5748