Utica University faculty and students rallied together on Friday on the Utica University campus to speak out against a plan for 15 majors to be cut by the board of trustees.
It was announced in January that 15 majors, including philosophy, chemistry, physics and nutrition would most likely be eliminated from the university.
The president of the American Association of University Professors for Utica University, Leonore Fleming, says this not only impacts the university, but its students.
“One of the reasons it’s so important is because we care so deeply about our students and then about the future of the university,” Fleming said. “We want students to have choice, we want them to have various avenues in order to graduate on time ad to be retained. So, we’re really concerned with this idea of getting rid of or modifying 40% of the undergraduate offerings that really reduces the avenues for students to be successful.”
Students who are currently enrolled in the majors being eliminated will be able to finish out their degree and the minors will still be available. However, Fleming says this has a negative impact on the minors.
“So if they get rid of the chemistry major then we lose our American Chemical Society Accreditation,” Fleming said. “So if we lose that accreditation, it then hurts students who are in the biochemistry major, it hurts students who are in the biochemistry or chemistry minors. It makes it harder for those students to get jobs. It is much less prestigious. And it really does hurt the institution as a whole.”
Despite all the upset that came with the announcement, the vice president of the university’s faculty union, Douglas Edwards says the community support has been uplifting.
“[It’s] a pretty devastating announcement for a lot of people,” Edwards said. “The response to that in terms of how our community has kind of resisted that has been fantastic. And it means so much to all of us to feel that we have this community here because that’s what we really ultimately want to preserve. We really value the importance of this institution and our different respective roles in it. And to be able to work together to try to ensure that future is something that is really valuable to us.”
The Utica University Board of Trustees sent out an email during the rally stating that they met Thursday and Friday and will have a decision with a detailed report for administration, students, faculty and staff no later than Feb 24.