LIU Post has lost a vital component of its Art Department, according to numerous students, and that was just from cutting one professor. Students have begun a petition to the University to re-hire Professor Steven Ceraso, who has not been invited back this semester.
Before this semester, if you were to head up to the Sculpture Building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a regular school day, you would most likely have found Professor Ceraso helping students with their projects. Ceraso taught students how to do woodwork, metal work, and clay work, and according to students who took his classes, he was great at it. Although an adjunct professor, (whose contract ran only from year to year), Ceraso proved to be a very well rounded artist. This is a man who took the time to turn desks into cabinets for his workshop according to senior Fine Arts and Education major, Michael Espinosa. “He was able to show students different ways to make a box, instead of just screwing it together. There were certain cuts in the wood he would show the students, plus he knew what he was doing when teaching safety protocol,” Michael said.
According to the Art Department, his contract was discontinued due to budgetary cuts. “I was told the decision was purely budgetary and not based on my performance,” said Ceraso in an email regarding his current situation.
Espinosa had Ceraso last semester, and when he heard about the budget cut, he started a petition to get Ceraso reinstated at LIU Post. “We had an invaluable resource at our disposal and now we don’t have that anymore. It’s kind of sad to see that kind of art work die off,” said Espinosa. Some students speculated that Ceraso might have been cut because of a declining number of students enrolling in his classes.
Freshman Percussive Studies major, Cory Brenner, said, “I would love to take a metal casting class. Knowing that we used to have one but lost it, makes me sad.” Joan Harrison, a professor of 2D media stated, “Certainly the wood and metal shops are essential to our program, economic circumstances seem to be affecting everything.”
When the Pioneer inquired about Ceraso’s position, other members of the Art Department declined to comment. There were also students who needed to take Ceraso’s Sculpting 102 class to fulfill their graduation requirement. Fine Arts Major Michael Benedetto wrote, “I think it’s deplorable that he (Ceraso) was not given his position back for this year, especially being that I had already signed up for his Sculpture 2 class.” Benedetto wrote this on the petition to bring Ceraso back. This petition can be found online at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/steven_ceraso/.
The petition was started September 9 and it currently has 67 signatures. There you will find many testimonies to Ceraso’s dedication to teaching, performance level, and overall skill in the crafts he instructed.