Rally held at University of Evansville to protest proposal to cut programs

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EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) Protesters rally at University of Evansville Tuesday in opposition to the recent realignment plan proposed recently by UE administration.

Nearly 4,000 people have signed a petition calling for university president Christopher Pietruszkiewicz to step down. The petition was created after Pietruszkiewicz announced his proposal of cutting several departments.

The plan would reduce four colleges into three by eliminating three departments. It would also get rid of 17 total majors.

Staff and students say they are frightened the impact this will have for the institution moving forward.

“I think at this point it’s either UE suffers or Pres. P resigns,” said University of Evansville student, HarMonee Baltzell.

“We would also really like the information, the financial information, behind these decisions because we aren’t getting that, ” explained UE student Kate Myers.

Some students are planning to request financial documents to see for themselves if President Pietruszkiewicz’s plan to cut 17 majors is necessary.

“It’s not adding up that we are cutting the music department and that we are cutting certain majors that contribute to the university in what makes this university a liberal arts college. We are not a STEM school,” Madelynn Filson said. Filson is a vocal performance major. She is set to graduate in 2023, one year after the music department, along with the philosophy & religion, electrical engineering and computer science departments are all slated to be cut. “It doesn’t make sense kind of what the president is saying that all of us will be able to finish our degrees, but with what professors?”

“I’m not seeing how that’s possible. He’s not presenting any of this information to us– at least not out of the gate like he should,” said UE student Brandi Beckham.

Students say they’re surprised and don’t understand the cuts. This could result in nearly 40 of the university’s professors being laid off.

“It’s ridiculous, I mean their tenure is supposed to protect this from happening to them,” said Filson.

“The professors of this school are this school,” said Myers.

“He [President Pietruszkiewicz] is not investing in our academics, okay. The academics should be the last place to cut, not the first place to cut,” said Beckham.

Some people are wondering if scaling back on athletics would be a better option.

“Maybe we should look to switching to D2 or D3 to kind of save some money so we don’t have to get rid of whole departments and faculty,” Baltzell explained.

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(This story was originally published on December 15, 2020)

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