Students and faculty react to UVM cutting majors amid budget deficit

Vermont News

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) — The University of Vermont has presented a proposal to senate leadership that would eliminate 12 majors, 11 minors, and four masters degree programs within the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is challenging. It’s really difficult,” said Dean William Falls. “The college has been facing a structural budget deficit for a number of years now.”

Falls says it’s all in an effort to alleviate that growing budget deficit. He says he identified programs with very low enrollment numbers such as religion, geology, and some foreign language majors.

“For example, that enrolled 25 students out of our 4500, or majors that graduated fewer than 5 students out of the 800-1000 that graduate every year,” he said.

Falls says students currently enrolled in the programs will be able to complete them, however, he can’t make promises about the security of faculty.

“It’s heart breaking,” said Margery Vagt, who works in the Howe Memorial Library on campus. “It’s heart breaking to lose those majors and for those people who’s jobs are on the line.”

Vagt says she just learned of the cuts before speaking with us.

“Everyone knows this has been coming because of the changing demographics,” she said. “Covid obviously is accelerating, it’s gonna be a hard time for higher ed.”

Students believe this will cause a number of would-be Catamounts to be swayed from attending.

“Yeah they gonna lose people for sure,” said UVM freshman Roberto Melendez. “If you don’t have the major then whats the whole point of coming here?”

The union, representing UVM faculty reacted in a statement:

“Their presentation of the cuts of programs and degrees as a firm decision defies the standing procedures for making these types of decisions, procedures that involve broad participation by the faculty senate. The cuts themselves, overwhelmingly to the humanities, gravely threaten UVM’s ability to provide a high-quality liberal arts education.”

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