Local residents who aren’t Anderson University alums or don’t have a child attending the college often don’t visit the campus unless there’s an Indianapolis Colts practice going on.
Though many activities are open to the public, they aren’t always perceived as being open to folks not immediately associated with AU.
One of the few activities that routinely draws in non-AU types are the offerings of the theater department.
Recently, the 32-member Anderson University board of trustees was forced to make a major financial decision and cut the theater program along with French and philosophy majors.
Sixteen staff and faculty positions will be cut as part of an effort to save $1.7 million. But a drop in the full-time equivalent enrollment may result in a total $3 million cut.
Last week, about 100 students, alumni, faculty and staff attended a forum sponsored by the Student Government Association. Representing the university, Brent Baker, vice president for student affairs, and Marie Morris, provost, bravely answered questions.
They pledged more conversations with “students who don’t feel like they understand our plans moving forward,” but many fear this was the end of the discussion.
Anderson University is a private liberal arts college that should be able to make financial cuts and expenditures where it sees fit for students. It must constantly reposition itself in the higher education market to attract future students.
For example, it recently launched a bachelor of science degree in engineering.
The pressures are great facing small private universities.
This community hopes the board of trustees has made a financially sound and heartfelt decision.
But it is truly sad that a program that reached out to Anderson, a program that didn’t require participants to be students or alumni, is disappearing. They will be a loss to the community.
In summary The loss of programs at Anderson University is a loss for the non-AU community as well.