Theatre, French and comparative humanities will no longer be offered as degrees after recommendations to suspend the programs were passed by the Board of Regents Monday, Dec. 5.
Provost Janna Vice introduced the long-awaited suspension plan, set to save $614,700 of the $13.1 million deficit on the 2017-18 budget, to the board after months of debate led to the Faculty Senate failing to approve any programs for suspension.
The official recommendations are as follows:
Suspend: BA in Comparative Humanities; Minor in Comparative Humanities; BA in English, Theatre Concentration (Create Theatre Certificates and retain Theatre Minor); BA in English, Theatre Teaching; BA in French; BA in French Teaching; Minor in French; MBA Concentration in Accounting; MBA Concentration in Integrated Communication; Associate of Applied Science, Science for Engineering.
Redesign to be more marketable and efficient: Horticulture BA, Horticulture Minor; Journalism BA, Journalism Minor; Geography BA, Geography Minor.
Retain but reduce cost: Religion Minor, Social Intelligence & Leadership Studies Minor, Technical Writing Concentration in English BA.
Vice said the program cuts will only affect the degree, and that tenured faculty will not be reduced. Current majors will continue their degree track without any effects.
The recommendations were passed by all members of the board except staff representative Bryan Makinen, student representative Colin Potter and faculty representative Richard Day, who abstained citing conflict of interest.
While the decision did not come as a surprise to many professors and department chairs in attendance, French professor Randi Polk said the vote was still unsettling after both the Faculty Senate and Council on Academic Affairs had more optimistic outcomes.
“I’m hurt, I’m about to cry and I’m disappointed for our students,” Polk said after the meeting was adjourned. “Initially, I thought we would have some time to regroup, but that is not the case.”
Before the vote, Chair Craig Turner said he was disappointed in the work, or lack thereof, done by the Faculty Senate over the past eight months.
“The decision to engage all parties has not had the success I had hoped,” Turner said of the process. “If you don’t participate, you lose your voice.”
Richard Day responded to Turner’s remarks on the senate, saying “While these democratic processes may be a bit painful and hard to get through, I hope we will reflect on the contributions the faculty has made.”
Turner also said talk of cutting the athletics’ budget in replace or addition to program cuts would greatly hurt the university as a whole, as athletics is the front porch of the university.
“We are Eastern Kentucky University, not Eastern Kentucky Community College,” Turner said.
Turner’s statements did not settle well with faculty in attendance, as many said it feels as if academics is taking the brunt of the cuts.
“I support college athletics, and I think it’s important, but I think my deeper worry about Eastern becoming a community college has more to do with some core academic programs than worrying about what a university is—and we can’t give that up,” said Michael Austin, philosophy and religion chair, after the meeting.
By COREY WALL & TAYLOR WEITER