The department has been plagued by a lack of high-profile, tenured faculty in recent years. Following a year of turmoil and decline, the Political Science Department is closing its doors, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston announced yesterday. Preston made the announcement during a meeting attended by all 20 of the department's professors, including professors Marissa Golden and Daniel Deudney, both of whom accepted jobs at other institutions earlier this semester. The decision to eliminate the department came after the University unsuccessfully attempted to recruit senior Political Science professors from other colleges. Penn's department has only half the number of professors of its peer institutions, which average 42. "The department was in poor condition for some time," Preston said. "And with the recent losses of Marissa and Dan, political science at Penn has suffered a major blow. "As a result, the University felt it was in the students' best interests to simply eliminate the department," Preston explained. "The course offerings for next semester are weak enough that it doesn't warrant keeping the doors open." The approximately 150 Political Science majors are "regrettably out of luck," Political Science Department Chairperson Ian Lustick said. He emphasized that no Political Science courses will be offered past this semester and that students will be forced to find other majors. Lustick added that the department will work with other departments to transfer Political Science credits. He noted, for example, that students will be able to easily switch to the History major. The elimination of the department caps its stormy history at the University. Fifteen years ago, it had a poor reputation among peer institutions and was marked by turmoil and conflict. But in the late 1980s, the department began to rebuild. Most recently, University efforts have focused on boosting the department's weak American politics sector, which "sucks more than an SDT sister," according to College junior and Political Science major Jessica Boar. Boar, along with dozens of frustrated Political Science majors -- who said they were already all worked up from yesterday's record-breaking heat -- stormed the department's office in Stiteler Hall when news of the closing spread. The climax of the resulting riot came when several chairs went airborne. One broken chair zipped past College senior John La Bombard's cheek before its legs landed directly in front of University President Judith Rodin. "I'm just glad it didn't hit my penis," La Bombard said as he picked himself up off the floor. Rodin, the mastermind behind the department's attempt to rebuild, took her eyes off La Bombard -- about whom she once again appeared very concerned -- to explain the University's decision to eliminate the department. "We blew it," she conceded. "We worked the entire East Coast trying to get someone to come here." Responding to the announcement, several students said they "felt a release," as if the major failed to satisfy them anyway. "I simply wasn't fulfilled," said one student, who is considering switching to the Folklore major. "I guess I may simply have to start going to Wizzard's." Meanwhile, reaction from Political Science professors following the announcement was more mixed than the drinks they have been known down before classes. Undergraduate Chairperson Henry "Loony" Teune simply looked on quizzically, prompting some to again question what exactly is inside his skull. Lustick, meanwhile, appeared in denial, wandering around the building aimlessly and muttering quietly to himself, "But we were gonna have new professors here, we were gonna have new professors here, new professors, new professors?" Alluding to the "very enticing packages" offered to prospective employees, Lustick continued to insist that the department was attracting the nation's top professors, several of whom would be on board in the fall. Rodin responded, "Ian, who are you kidding? Even when I'm in my black leather miniskirt, I can't get anybody to come up."Comments powered by Disqus
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