UWS Students Get Extra Week to Pick Suspended Majors

Baihly Warfield
November 03, 2017 10:43 PM

The UWS student body president called the school's announcement it would suspend 25 academic programs "like dropping a bomb in the middle of nowhere." 

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Students and faculty had three chances this week to discuss with administration what they thought of the call. 

"You're taking away opportunities that were given to you," one student told the chancellor, interim provost and vice president of enrollment. "You say that it's not money. What is it then?"

Opening Friday's forum, Chancellor Renee Wachter wanted to make sure everyone understood what suspending a program means. 

"The program is going to finish out the students that are there, but for the meantime, unless it was lifted, that no new students will be entered into the program," Wachter explained. 

Student Body President Marinel Walfridsson said the issue has been a distraction for students. 

"We wish we could continue doing what we were supposed to, but everything is on hold," Walfridsson said. "This is what you're talking about in classes; this is what people are discussing in the halls. Yesterday when I was going back to my dorm, I had a 45-minute conversation with people wondering, What is going on?"

He expressed frustration with a lack of transparency from the administration. But Brenda Harms, interim vice president of enrollment management, said they feel these are "decisions that senior leadership should shoulder." She said they spent four months talking about it. 

Interim Provost Jacalyn Weissenburger said accusations that she, Harms and Wachter acted without integrity are hurtful. 

"Believe me, we made these decisions. We are carrying the burden of this," Weissenburger told the crowd at Friday's forum. "We do care about our students, and we do care about the future of this institution."

She said they will help students figure out what this means for them. 

"We have already set up advisement sessions for those students in the affected programs," Weissenburger said. 

Senior Sydney Kloster started an online petition, hoping to convince the leadership to change its mind. 

"They say that this only affects 3 percent of students," Kloster said. "But every single student on campus does not support this."

Kloster's original goal was 100 signatures. As of Friday afternoon, the petition had more than 3,500, and she changed the goal to 5,000. 

Harms said she doesn't believe the decision to suspend nine majors, 15 minors and one graduate program will be reversed. 

But Walfridsson said he will keep fighting. 

"I'm going to do everything I can because it's not over until it's over," he said. "We have to make our voice heard."

Harms said she believes the three forums were "tremendously productive." One decision that came out of them was the opportunity for enrolled students to declare majors next week. Starting at 7:45 a.m. Monday, students can sign up for a major or minor program, even if it's on the suspended list. 

Following that, Harms said they will go into an advisement period and hold meetings for the 15 groups that are in the "warning" category about how they can improve the programs and boost enrollment. 


Baihly Warfield

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