MSUM advocates respond to proposed budget plan in community forum

The community forum was held by the Inter Faculty Organization

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Esraa Kadhem is a former MSUM student who studied under the teaching English as a second language major.

With the university’s proposed budget cut threatening to close the program, Kadhem reveals why she thinks that would be the wrong decision during a community forum held by the school’s Inter Faculty Organization.

“I started at MSUM from scratch with limited English chasing my dream to be a teacher to help minority students just like myself,” said Kadhem. “I couldn’t be who I am today without the help of professors at MSUM, especially the teaching English as a second language program.”

That program is one of ten at risk of being shut down as the university’s new budget plan tries to close a projected gap of $6 million in 2022. The deficitĀ  is said to be the consequence of state funding restrictions and a decline in enrollment.

Other programs in danger include advertising, public relations, theatre arts and school psychology, which MSUM alum and school psychologist, Sarah How, says is a unique and necessary major.

“For us, it is not replaceable,” says How. “This is the only specialist graduate program that solely serves training practitioners to work in schools.”

The plan also includes the layoff of more than 30 faculty members across 18 disciplines, which some say would discourage future students from wanting to enroll.

“If so many English staff are cut that it takes five or six years to graduate with the CAL [Community Art and Literature] Major, you are going to see a decline in not only CAL majors attending MSUM, but eventually a decline in all majors.”

State Representative Ben Lien, who is an MSUM alumnus, was also in attendance at the forum.

He says he encouraged President Anne Blackhurst to feel more emboldened to push back at the system if the proposals do not suit the betterment of higher education.

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