Students at the University of Florida are currently protesting a restructuring proposal that would see the budget for the school's Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) department cut dramatically.
The proposal, announced by Dean Cammy Abernathy on April 11, would see all graduate and research activity from the CISE department removed and the department turned into a teaching only department. According to the Save UF CISE website, the restructuring would also mean all software-oriented Computer Engineering students (roughly 310 out of a total 610 CISE undergrads; 375 out of 400 masters students; and 130 doctoral students) from CISE would be moved to the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department. In addition to this, all teaching assistant support would be eliminated and 50 percent of the CISE faculty would be would be transferred to other engineering departments (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial System Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering).
Students say the CISE department's computer science research includes broad-based investigation in Computer Graphics, Intelligent Systems, Databases, Distributed Computing and Networking, Software systems, Data Mining, Human-Computer Interaction, High Performance Computing and Algorithms, and says these cannot be in an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Industrial System Engineering (ISE), or Biomedical Engineering (BME) department.
The cuts are a result of a decrease in state funding for the University of Florida. According to Forbes, Florida state legislators have cut the budget for the university by 30 percent over the past 6 years. Students continue to oppose the cuts, along with members of the CISE faculty. The petition on Change.org currently has nearly 7000 signatures.