Advocates For MSUM Theatre Program Speak Out Against Cuts, Association Plans Forum

MSUM Faculty Association is hosting a public forum Monday night on the recent decision to cut 11 majors and numerous staff positions.

MOORHEAD, Minn. — “It makes the light at the end of the tunnel not seem so bright; I just think a huge letdown,” MSUM Theatre Student Connor Murphy said.

After a public meeting, MSUM announced it would cut 11 majors at the university to solve a 6 million dollar budget deficit.

One of the programs is the Theatre Arts Program. The decision caused a wave of backlash on social media.

“I pay for everything out of pocket myself. I don’t get help from anyone, I don’t get financial aid. I don’t do any of that, so it’s great that I not only get to afford somewhere that I can go to without breaking my bank account,” Murphy said.

A petition circling through Facebook has more than 2000 signatures and a group called Save MSUM Theatre and Strawhat Players has over 700 members. The group also put a large ad in the Fargo Forum as the movement continues to grow.

Students say the school has a rich history in the arts helping students find the right career even if it’s not in theatre.

“It’s not just for majors and minors because the program has never been limited to just that it’s been what student wants to participate in what skills set does that student bring and welcome aboard,” MSUM Theatre Alumni Doug Hamilton said.

The school theatre staff say they were shocked about the cuts being made to their department and say the university is not fully taking in the severity of removing the program will have on students.

They say students who are involved in the theatre program also are active in other art programs like music, film and dance.

“What we are seeing is a family really coming together now at this moment doing everything within its power to make sure this program continues to exist,” Professor, MSUM Theatre Arts Program Craig Ellingson said

Erin Lemair, a film student alumni, put together a video essay about the need to save the program that’s being shared across social media.

She says the program means too much to the F-M community to be taken away.

“As a university who I have always seen as appreciating the needs of it’s students getting rid of one area is just unreal to see,” Lemair said.

MSUM Faculty Association is hosting a public forum Monday night on the recent decision to cut 11 majors and numerous staff positions.

The meeting is meant to give people the chance to voice their opinions on the cuts and also for the staff to report their findings.

Association President Matt Craig says they will be meeting with school leaders on the 30th to discuss changes they would like to see.

Craig says he sees problems with the large cuts to staff and various programs.

“Hoping to have a number of people speak to the impact that this might have on their community, or in the Facebook Live broadcast anyone will be able to ask questions and leave comments there too and we will try to summarize those as part of our response on Thursday,” said Craig.

Categories: Business, Community, Local News, North Dakota News