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The Antelope

Budget cut anxiety lowers student morale in Fine Arts Building

Photo by Jenna Heinz / Antelope Staff

It may not be an easily measurable thing, but since the proposed draft for cuts to departments and staffing was released, the mood in the Fine Arts Building has changed drastically.

Normally, there is a relaxed vibe since everybody knows everybody in the Fine Arts Building. Students see the work of everyone else because of the art on display, the plays, student recitals and studio classes. If someone spends a considerable amount of time in the FAB, everyone will know their name or know someone else who does.

I remember learning about the proposed cuts being announced during my private trumpet lesson. Since it was just a draft, I didn’t think much about it until I left. 

People were pacing in groups in about every hallway. It would have been hard to find a way through the building without someone talking to you about the draft.

I almost made it out though, but one of my buddies pulled me into a circle of theater people. They asked about how I felt since I was a journalism major and on the list of majors to potentially be cut. This was news to me, so I didn’t have much of a response.

By the end of the day, the draft had been seen by everyone that I know. I was asked to join the “Keep Arts at UNK” Facebook group. News had traveled fast and people were outraged.

By the end of the week, a protest was planned for the following Monday. Following the protest, the student government hosted a budget forum with a few members from campus administration. Since that forum, the volume of the FAB discontent has gotten lower, but it definitely has not gone away. 

It lingers as an afterthought in many conversations. People will talk about their classes and wonder if they will even be able to take similar classes in the future or with the same professor. A theater major I know feels like the school is taking away a path that she just got started on. I have heard several trumpet players talk about how they are going to transfer if the high brass professor gets fired. Both discussions and arguments have come and gone over which departments they should be cutting.

The community is tense, and I am sad to see it like this. I feel like it is only going to get worse as we get closer to the draft being finalized too. Maybe I’m wrong and we can convince the administration to not hit our building as hard as the proposal suggests.

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Lucas Ratliff
Lucas Ratliff, Reporter
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