CU journalism professor Michael Tracey speaks to the Information, Communication and Technology Exploratory Committee at Monday s forum in the University Memorial Center.

Despite efforts to not discuss the fate of the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, a faculty committee seeking campus input Monday on a new “information, communication and technology” program was instead met with questions about the college’s possible closure.

The Information, Communication, and Technology Exploratory Committee held an open forum in the University Memorial Center seeking suggestions from CU faculty and students about creating a new program on campus.

If you go

What: Information, Communication and Technology Exploratory Committee Open Forum

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday

Where: University Memorial Center, Room 235, CU campus, Boulder

Etc. Alumni and the public are invited

Instead, the committee’s members were faced with a room full of unhappy faculty and students from the School of Journalism — which is undergoing a “program discontinuance” review — who were looking for answers.

“What is broken about the J-School?” asked Christina Gonzales, a journalism doctoral student. “Without knowing what’s wrong with it now, how can we offer suggestions for change?”

Catherine Larkins, a journalism staff member, said she wants answers to pass along to angry students and parents.

“We have like 600-plus… students and we’re going to lose them because we don’t know what to tell them,” Larkins said. “We don’t know what we’re doing.”

The Information, Communication, and Technology Exploratory Committee is charged with proposing ideas for a program focused on information and research, similar to those at MIT and the University of California at Berkeley. The initiative comes on the heels of a recent university announcement that the journalism school might close, although the two initiatives are to remain separate, according to CU.

“This has nothing to do with journalism,” committee member Michael Lightner, a professor of electrical engineering, told the students and faculty at Monday’s forum.

Committee chairman Merrill Lessley said that while the new initiative is still unclear, the program will not provide students with a traditional journalism curriculum.

“We’re hoping to propose a program that would encourage intersections and collaboration between departments across campus that would be a valuable enterprise and gain national and international distinction,” Lessley said. “We are not restructuring the journalism school.”

As professors and doctorate students continued to question the possible closure of the journalism school and how media would play into a new information, communication and technology program, other concerns also emerged about the initiative.

CU graduate Alan Sobel wanted to know why the committee was not more transparent throughout its process. He asked for more online information and updates and options for feedback, which he got after the committee published its Web site Monday afternoon.

Andrew Calabrese, associate dean for graduate studies at the School of Journalism, told the committee it was “vitally important” to continue media studies at CU, whether in the new information, communication and technology program or the journalism program.

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