Students, Residents Speak Out at Town Hall Amidst Proposed UWSP Cuts
By Joe Bachman
“You will not find a vibrant cultural town or city that does not value the arts.” – Ivy Boudreau
STEVENS POINT — Over a hundred concerned community members and students made their way into the Dreyfus University Center theater on Tuesday night to voice concerns about the proposed UWSP liberal arts program cuts.
“It’s obvious to me over the last five years that town halls, letters to the editor, being pissed off at administration — it’s not taking us anywhere,” said UWSP Academic and Career Advisor Julie Schneider. “We need to look beyond this and fight a much bigger fight — those are kinds of movements that have happened before — moving across lines with students reaching out to other citizens in our community; to me, that’s where the battle lies.”
Though these programs would discontinue many liberal arts , the university plans to continue liberal arts education in forms of minors, classes, and certificates. All in all, these are efforts made on behalf of the university to save costs in light of a $4.5 million dollar deficit, with many blaming the continued school budget cuts from the state.
“Through the humanities, we learn to think and reason for ourselves, and learn to communicate those ideas with others,” said said UWSP alumni Ivy Boudreau, who graduated with a major in dance. “Without these abilities, not only would future students be vulnerable to blindly follow any ideology that came their way, they would also become less effective employees.”
If the proposal succeeds, the university would make a slight shift towards STEM-related programs. (science technology, engineering, math) Even city staff took part in the town hall, with Mayor Wiza as a spectator, and City Attorney Andrew Beveridge taking the mic to express his concerns.
“How are we, over the long-term, going to attract people to this community who don’t have pre-existing ties here?” asked Beveridge. “Art is something that is a reason for living — it’s not something that we do because it’s profitable.”
Candidate for Wisconsin Governor Andy Gronik was also on hand, and expressed his views on the importance of a liberal arts degree in the world of business.
“As a business guy, I like it when people show up, and I like it when they know how to communicate — and you get that from a liberal arts education. Communication is essential,” said Gronik. “It doesn’t diminish all of the other degrees; which are also very important, but for all practical purposes, we’re taking the logic out of so much of what education is supposed to be about.”
These proposed cuts are not final, and the process is ongoing. For more information, check out
UW-Stevens Point Outlines Potential Program Cuts, Additions
A Deeper Look at the Proposed Added and Expanded Programs for UWSP