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The Antelope

Board of Regents eliminates majors in wake of budget cuts

UNK’s budget cuts were announced in November 2023 and approved by the Board of Regents this February. Photo by Jenna Heinz / Antelope Staff

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents met on Feb. 9 to vote on the discontinuation of three bachelor’s degree programs at UNK. The eight regents unanimously voted to eliminate geography, theater and recreation management.

This decision was forced by UNK’s $4.3 million budget deficit, leading to the elimination of 24.5 faculty lines and nine degree programs.

Temo Molina, UNK student body president, was in attendance serving as UNK’s student regent and opposed the elimination of theater.

“I made a special effort to represent what I felt the campus attitude was for students,” Molina said.

Prior to voting, the public was given a final opportunity to convey their feelings and directly address the regents. During this time, eight individuals came forward, each defending the theater program. 

Among the speakers was Sarah Borden, a theater lecturer from UNL, urging the Board not to cut the theater department. This plea was made despite the consideration that the elimination in Kearney might contribute to the success of Lincoln’s program.

“Taking away theater departments kills campuses,” Borden said. “It kills creativity. It kills so many things that we love about arts and humanities.”

Although these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, there was more discussion between the Regents over the theater department compared to the other two degree programs.

During deliberation, the board discussed how theater can still have a place at UNK.

“Theater productions are a part of campus life and culture,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “Not at the same level, I fully acknowledge that, but there is still a way to keep up these productions aside from academics.”

Student regents cast an unofficial “student opinion” vote, but it does not count in the final decision. Molina was the only one to oppose the elimination of theater.

“Those public comments and efforts demonstrate that people care about their programs,” Molina said. “And that they can have a place in the future of the UNK, even if they decided to vote it down now.”

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Rachel Ostdiek
Rachel Ostdiek, Executive Editor
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