Students, staff react to proposed cuts at UWSP

By Brianna Hollis, WAOW

STEVENS POINT- As top officials at UW-Stevens Point announced plans to potentially cut 13 school programs, students in those majors expressed frustration. 

The programs on the chopping block are Humanities-based, including English, History and some languages. Meanwhile, the plan involves expanding programs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. 

The move came about as a way to address the university's $4.5 million deficit, as well as declining enrollment. 

The plans are not set in stone and will not impact any current students. However, students who study the potentially impacted majors are concerned about the university's future, and believe the value of their studies is being overlooked.

"There is a devaluing of the abstract, of the critical thinking," said Conor Hanson, a Philosophy major. "There's a higher value placed on concreteness."

Mark Balhorn, an English professor, shares similar concerns.

"Maybe the administration needs to have a broader view of who our students are," he said. 

The dean and provost of the university said something needs to be done to help the school's bottom line, and bring in more students. 

"We're making some curricular changes. We're moving some resources away from some of the lower enrolled programs that we have particularly in the traditional liberal arts and social sciences," said Greg Summers, UWSP provost. "And we're trying to move [resources] toward some of those areas for investment, while at the same time repairing our budget."

Humanities-based classes will still be available, there just won't be as much of an emphasis on them.

Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) also expressed concerns about the proposal. She plans to meet with students next week.

If the proposal passes the next stages, changes could beginning early next year.