National Attention on UW-Superior
On Tuesday, October 31st, the students and faculty of the University of Wisconsin- Superior were notified that nine majors, one master program and 15 minors were being suspended. The reasoning behind the move to suspend these majors was that first generation students were having a hard time choosing their majors and were taking too long. The administration also said no teachers would be laid off. Over the past week, students and faculty have been fighting against the administration decision.
While all the students can agree upon, first generation students do not have a problem choosing classes. Due to administration’s first media proposition of first generation students can become “overwhelmed” by so many choices, this led the Twin Cities’ City Pages “UW-Superior courses cut because students are incapable of good decisions” and Huffington Posts’ “University Of Wisconsin-Inferior.” Forty-six perfect of UWS’ students are first generation, yet many of these students found it insulting.
As well as, faculty were not advised or told in advance of these suspensions. Most of the faculty were told with an email, and when it comes with students, while an email was sent out, most found out via social media. However, UW-Superior’s administration says no faculty will be laid off, yet these majors and minors are leaving. This is a hope from the administration to have teachers on their own accord, even though they are being forced out. One of the majors going is political science, and while there are minor and general educations courses to be taught, there is not a need for three highly qualified teachers. The administration has thought about moving some teachers into other disciplines.
This was the information given to the students. Since then, it has been a back and forth between in the administration. Four forums were held, where students and faculty were able to speak their minds and ask question. A petition was signed with over 4000 signatures, and the university only has 2500 students.
As well as the suspended list, there was a warning list, which included some sciences and math. These are two pillars of the liberal arts education that students of UWS go for. The classes would still be there, yet the majors and minors would be gone. The administration stated that it wasn’t due to budget cuts, even though UWS is $2.5 million. The administration also stated that only eight percent of people would be affected on campus, but at a liberal arts schools, many majors and minors interact with one another, like a writing major taking communications class or a gender studies major taking communications classes. (Communications was hit hard with these suspensions.)
For many people on campus, they did not see it coming, which caused even more of an uproar. One of the loudest groups on campus is the art therapy majors and grad students. The University of Wisconsin- Superior was one of the only public colleges to offer a graduate program. Now, art therapy undergraduates will be forced to go expensive private schools, when they chose to come to UWS to stay six or more years. Already there is talk among students of art therapy to transfer out.
With all of this, it can be understood why many students and faculty are angry. The press releases– even the press found out before the students– were off putting. When students ask questions to the administration, they danced around the answers while being long-winded. Many people find that the UWS administration is trying to start a fad: rushing students out by they don’t take any more time. None of this is helpful when Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin cut the UW-System to pay $220 million for a new NBA stadium.
Students want the majors and minors back, yet the administration is not looking to do this any time soon. Some of the students have decided to have sit-ins on Monday, November 4th. The administration is not backing down. This is ongoing, and one can only hope there is a compromise somewhere in there that both sides are willing to agree to.