Seven more SIU degree programs could be cut soon - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Seven more SIU degree programs could be cut soon

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CARBONDALE -- Faculty and staff with years at SIU have seen the university's fight for financial survival develop right before their eyes.

Walter Davis is an advisor at SIU and said he's been keeping up with the university's recent cuts. 

"I've seen it change over that eight years you know, go from quite a bit of students you know like 20 some thousand down to like 14 thousand now." 

Davis said the proposed elimination of seven degree programs alarms him. Especially for the damage it does in winning over prospective students. 

"Now then they might look to go to other universities but then I also understand the budget cuts and why we have to do it," Davis said. 

In Chancellor Brad Caldwell's SIU Financial Stability Report for the Board of Trustees he says the list of seven programs were chosen based off history of low enrollment and a "substantially weaker comparative performance on other metrics."

One program on the potential chopping block the Africana Studies Department. Dr. Joseph Brown believes the university set up his department to fail by encouraging students to double major and not counting those students when looking for places to cut.

“So while we have files on 26 majors the former chancellor of the university Brad Caldwell has said in public well they’re not viable because they only have eight majors,” Dr. Brown said. 

He said students have also told him of advisers discouraging taking Africana Studies courses. At the beginning, he said he told administrators the department would need to gradually increase faculty to be competitive but they told them that wouldn't be possible. He believes all of these reasons caused the failure of the program. 

"I say that this under performance is not the fault of the victim, it’s the fault of the institution. We have structural discrimination that has taken place for at least 20 years. So, I’m not surprised but I’m disappointed,” he said. 

He said his program is vital for all students from all backgrounds. 

"The world is going to put you up against people with different culture backgrounds and it’s not enough to say hi I like you, it’s really important to say I know something about you,” Dr. Brown said.

Davis said he hopes it doesn't come to that.

"We're in the rebuilding process getting more new people, we got a new chancellor, we got a budget so you know things are looking up and we have some good students that's coming through."

If the university cuts the seven this year it will make for a total of fifteen degree programs cut in the last two years. 

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