ANDERSON, Ind. —
Professor Ronald Johnstone has chaired the theater department since 1995. He now anticipates looking for another job.
The planned elimination of his department sparked an immediate response from students and alumni of the program.
“We can’t let it die,” said Kristin Katsu, a 2006 AU graduate, currently working on her MFA at Western Illinois University. Katsu founded a Facebook group, saveAUtheatre, which by Monday already included almost 800 members. Katsu expressed confidence that the rallying of students, parents and alumni could have an impact.
“It’s inspiring to me,” said Johnstone. “I can’t say it doesn’t make me proud that so many people are rallying to take action.”
Theater students were in the Boze Theatre on Monday, where the set for the upcoming production of "The Odd Couple" is under construction. Students said they were disheartened by the news of the program's cut, and troubled by what it means for the successful completion of their program, especially without Johnstone at the helm.
Professor Sally Jo Shulmistras' French program is another budget casualty.
“We knew they were going to make cuts," said Shulmistras, on faculty 41 years. "Was I prepared for it? No ... I think it’s a shame.”
At the same time some programs are being cut, others are growing. The university’s new engineering program saw double the anticipated enrollment in its inaugural year.
"All of this is about the future," said Edwards.
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