ANDERSON, Ind. — On the heels of an announcement Anderson University made Monday regarding the discontinuation of three major programs, almost 100 students showed up for a forum on the decision.
The school informed students and faculty this week that theater, French and philosophy majors would be discontinued starting next year. Sixteen faculty and staff will lose their jobs. Three-dimensional art will be merged with communications to create a new major.
Many students were shocked and upset about the news, so the student government hosted a forum Thursday with Provost Marie Morris and Brent Baker, the vice president of student affairs, at Reardon Auditorium.
Morris tried to explain why the changes had been made and why those specific majors had been cut. She said it was about finances and about updating priorities.
School officials considered number of students enrolled and graduating in various majors and recommended cuts. Anderson’s board of directors ultimately made the final decision.
“Choosing which majors to cut was a really difficult decision,” Morris said. “We want to keep all the majors. We didn’t want to cut these programs, but they fit the criteria.”
School officials said students currently in those majors would be able to finish their degrees. While classes in those three disciplines will still be offered, a major will not.
Many students said Thursday night that they felt blindsided by the decision. Some argued that, had there been notice that the majors would be dropped, they would have encouraged others to come to AU to major in theater.
Junior Tyler Dague, a journalism and performing-arts major, asked why the school hadn’t let students know their majors were in jeopardy.
“If we had known this was coming we might have been able to get more support,” Dague said.
Baker said he understood the anger from students about the suddenness of the announcement. But he said discussions had been going on for a long time behind closed doors as the school considered whether to cut programs.