Several hundred students, faculty, alumni and others demonstrated at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus over a proposed realignment to the school's majors.
Officials at the university, located about 100 miles north of Madison, proposed cutting 13 majors, mainly in social studies and the humanities, while adding sixteen majors in fields "that have demonstrated value and demand in the region."
The majors on the chopping block are:
- American Studies
- Art (Graphic design would still exist as a major)
- English (English would continue for teacher certification)
- History (Social science would continue for teacher certification)
- Music Literature
- Political Science
- Sociology (Social Work would continue as a major)
- Chemical Engineering
- Computer Information Systems
- Conservation Law Enforcement
- Fire Science
- Graphic Design
- Captive Wildlife
- Ecosystem Design and Remediation
- Environmental Engineering
- Geographic Information Science
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Natural Resources
- Doctor of Physical Therpay
Political science professor Jennifer Collins told WAOW-TV the reshuffling would radically change the nature of the university and reduce opportunities available to students in central Wisconsin.
Chancellor Bernie Patterson met the demonstrators Wednesday afternoon. He said the status quo is not an option to deal with the looming deficit.
"It is critical our students learn to communicate well, solve problems, think critically and creatively, be analytical and innovative, and work well in teams," Patterson said in the March 5 press release. "This is the value of earning a bachelor's degree."
Students currently enrolled in the dropped majors would be able to finish their degrees, the release said.
Before any action is taken on the proposal, it needs to go through a campus governance committee, the school chancellor and then the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, the school said. The process is expected to start in August.
The changes echo the direction Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has wanted to take the University of Wisconsin system.
Walker in 2015 quietly sought to redefine the UW system's mission statement, meeting intense backlash. He proposed making the mission statement to "meet the state's workforce needs," and to remove language about public service and searching for truth, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.