WVU students protest proposed program, faculty cuts

Passionate voices echoed across the free speech zone on West Virginia University’s campus Monday afternoon.

“For a university that stands on inclusion they are stripping us away from all the diversity they offer,” said Olivia Reiter, a senior at WVU.

The World Language Department is just one of dozens of proposed cuts by the University’s administration.

MORE >>> West Virginia University outlines proposed program and faculty cuts

“To cut us off and block us from completely learning another language is horrible,” said Anna Ford, a WVU senior.

The university is proposing to take the language courses online using an app, but other graduate programs won’t have another option, including eliminating the only doctorate program for mathematics in the state.

“I was born and raised in West Virginia, and it sucks this is happening in a state that is already impoverished and taking away opportunities from people who can’t afford to go out of state for college,” Susannah Atkins, a junior at WVU.

The University said it’s looked at the data and the proposed cuts of 32 majors and 7% of the faculty will help fill a budget deficit of $45 million.

“That data factors heavily into preliminary recommendations, and it is why we focused on areas that would affect the fewest possible number of students – less than 2%,” said a WVU spokeswoman.

But the students who talked to Channel 11 said their classes are full.

“I know a lot of my friends have Spanish or any language for that matter, majors and minors and if anything, if there is a decline, why wouldn’t we fix the issue rather than completely getting rid of it? Promote languages more,” Reiter said.

The Modern Language Association even wrote a letter to the president of the university, E. Gordon Gee, stating the World Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and English Departments all generate “substantial tuition revenue for the university beyond their expenses.”

“The big thing we want is for the university to look over these plans they are putting into place and try to figure out a way we can make this work without cutting major programs that bring good business to the school,” Atkins said.

While the cuts are preliminary, university officials are pushing for the Board of Governors to act on the cuts as early as Sept. 15.

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