Hundreds of protesting college the proposal to drop humanities for more practical majors

The University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point reportedly is discussing a plan to eliminate 13 majors in the humanities, including English, philosophy, history, and Spanish. Hundreds protested the proposal Wednesday. (Wikimedia)

Hundreds protested at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus Wednesday about a proposed reorganisation of the school’s majors — the deletion of the humanities to a focus on more practical courses to lead students to a sustainable future.

University officials have proposed cutting 13 majors, especially in the social sciences and the humanities — programs with lower enrollment, the school said.

The 13 programs that can be eliminated are American studies, art, English, French, geography, geoscience, German, history, music, literature, philosophy, political science, sociology, and Spanish.

UW-Stevens Point students walked to the Old Main, the campus of the main admin. building, to stage a 13-minute silent sit-in protest against the proposed cuts in 13 majors. Check back later for a full gallery/story. #uwsp #saveourmajors #wearepointhumanities

— Alexandra Wimley (@alexandrawimley) March 21, 2018

The university is approximately 100 miles north of Madison, is also planning to add or expand 16 programs with a greater demand to deal with declining enrollment and reduced tuition revenue. This pragmatic majors include marketing, management, computer information systems, graphic design, and aquaculture — areas that “have demonstrated a value and demand in the region,” according to the school.

The campus — one of the 11 campuses of the University of Wisconsin system — is looking to focus on majors that are “clear career paths,” The Washington Post reported.

“Although some of the majors proposed to be eliminated, courses would continue to be taught in these fields, and minors or certificates will be offered,” the school said in a statement, as reported by The Hill.

Political science Professor Jennifer Collins told WAOW-TV on Wednesday that the reorganization would change the nature of the university radically and reduce the opportunities for students in central Wisconsin.

Vice-chancellor for academic affairs Greg Summers last week said redeployment of resources in the direction of more popular majors is necessary because of the increased competition in attracting a declining pool of high school students.

Wednesday afternoon, Chancellor Bernie Patterson met the protesters, including students, teachers, alumni and others. Patterson said the status quo is not an option to deal with a looming budget deficit estimated at $4.5 million over two years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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