UE students react to comment period extension of realignment plan

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EVANSVILLE (WEHT) – University of Evansville’s president Chris Pietruszkiewicz said he is giving faculty and students more time to offer input on a proposed realignment of the schools academic structure. The plan would eliminate three departments, 17 majors and almost 40 faculty jobs. The proposal has caused major pushback from students and faculty members.

Pietruszkiewicz is extending the period to hearing comments and other proposal to the end of February.

“Over the course of the next 45 days, we hope that we’ll not only consider the proposals we’ve been talking about- but additional proposals from the departments and faculty members and even Evansville community members that are effected,” he said.

UE senior Harmonee Baltzell said she’s not sure if a deadline extension to voice concerns or other ideas will make much of a difference in the final say for the realignment plan.

“It honestly kind of feels like an empty gesture. Like they’re saying well we’ll give you more time, we’ll let you think about it, we’ll say okay we’re going to take some more ideas but in reality they haven’t been listening to faculty suggestions. They’ve been disregarding faculty and students and alumni and community members,” said the Spanish major.

Students also said they’re unsure of what this current proposal means for the future of a university they love and call home. They’re asking administrators to provide more information on the financial status to help better understand why programs like music, political science, and more are looked at being cut.

Student Kate Myers said her major, ethics and social change, could be cut. She said UE is looking at the issue from a business perspective.

“Not all profit is monetary and the profit from an educational department like that is priceless I think and it’s very essential,” Myers said.

Students said regardless of this extension, they just want the president and the Board of Trustees to listen the impact this will have on the school.

“It’s our university. It’s where we’re going, where we’re spending money- we want our voices to be heard,” said Martin Everett, an accounting major.

Pietruszkiewicz said despite the fact that these programs are proposed for elimination does not mean they will not teach these subjects. He also said the voluntary separation incentive program window opens Monday. This allows certain faculty members to decide if they want to accept a severance package now or work for one year before termination.

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(This story was originally published on January 8, 2021)

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