Six humanities majors remain slated for elimination at UW-Steven Point, according to a statement from officials Monday.
In March, UW-Stevens Point announced plans to slash 13 majors — primarily in the humanities — in an effort to adapt to a projected $4.5 million budget deficit and falling enrollment. The proposal was met with intense backlash, including a snowy April protest at the Capitol.
French, German, geography, geoscience, history and two art majors remain scheduled for removal. After the initial announcement last spring, ensuing faculty retirements and resignations resulting from deficits and decreasing enrollment allowed university officials to maintain the remaining seven majors.
Officials predict that the cutbacks will help the school get its budget on track and better meet state education demands.
“It certainly started as a budget issue," UW-Stevens Point Provost Greg Summers told WPR. "We have a gap that we’ve talked about before between the revenue that we’re taking in and the expenses that we have. But I would say what this has become is an effort to try to meet the changing needs of central Wisconsin."
UW-Stevens Point was not the first UW System school to cut its majors in an effort to balance its budget. Last fall, UW-Superior eliminated 25 programs for similar reasons, sparking state-wide concern that the cuts would violate the system's guiding principles.
The tuition freeze, coupled with slashes in state investment, are a driving force behind the proposed cuts and go against the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, said Marlo Fields, a UW-Stevens Point student, at a protest last April. His history major will be one of the programs cut, should the budget plan pass.
“We are here witnessing the dismantling of an idea that is a pillar of Wisconsin society,” Fields said. “Our UW System has been stolen from us, and those entrusted to protect it have begun to disfigure and maim its integrity.”
UW-Madison students expressed their concerns as well, saying a threat to one school is a threat to the entire system.
“I think it’s really important that UW-Madison students show solidarity with the rest of the system schools,” said Rena Yehuda Newman, now a UW-Madison junior. “We’ve got to be together.”
The proposed changes have yet to be approved by the Board of Regents.
Update Nov. 14, 2018: An earlier version of this story stated that UW-Superior had plans to cut 26 majors, not 25 programs. The Daily Cardinal regrets the error.