By WSAW Staff
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- People got to voice their opinions during a round table at UW-Stevens Point on Tuesday about the potential cuts to many of the programs at the university.
The discussion was co-hosted by Rep. Katrina Shankland and the university's Student Government Association. Current and former students, along with faculty and community members, attended the event.
"I love Stevens Point. I think our university contributes a tremendous amount to the community and I want to protect our reputation and build on it for its future. I want our university to be successful, so I'm asking the administration to reconsider the proposal. I understand there's a budget deficit. I understand we have to tighten our belt, but can we do it in a fairer, equitable way," said Rep. Shankland.
State Senator Patrick Testin, who graduated with a degree in political science from UWSP, said he was surprised by the news. However, he said the change seems to be something the university needs moving forward. "I think you are seeing a shift in the need. i do think it is important that we have some sort of liberal arts education, but at the same time, if the university is going to be successful going into the future they have to adapt with the times and put in place programming and curriculum that fit the needs of the job market in the area."
Some students voiced their concerns about the cuts saying the reason they came to UWSP was for its liberal arts school and doing away with these programs suggested in the cuts would change that.
A former student said, "Cutting these majors, UWSP would effectively become a trade school. There is nothing wrong with that type of school, but a world where the humanities are simply not included as a part of higher education is sobering to imagine."
Another student who currently attends UWSP said, "With this new proposal I'm not sure that when I graduate if I want to mention that I went to this school because of this because it will be known as a STEM school not a liberal arts school."
Officials said the cuts are a way to close the $4.5 million budget deficit over two years. They say the deficit is due to declining enrollment and tuition freezes on the entire UW-System.
The proposed cuts will not impact current students or those who plan to enroll in the fall. The earliest changes would take place is June 2020.