The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees recently voted to “sunset” — which is their eloquent way of wording “cut” — up to 26 programs by fall 2022. The board seemed to feel this was the best solution to a decline in enrollment and therefore revenue. We, the students of YSU, the ones whose tuition pays for the university to function, do not agree.
The proposed cuts cover a variety of programs, including: foreign languages, computer information systems, music, medical (during a pandemic), creative writing and far, far too many more. No matter what end of the spectrum you’re studying, be it arts or sciences, YSU plans to cut it.
With the loss of classes comes the inevitable cuts of faculty. The faculty who adapted to unprecedented times and returned to campus this semester — although some preferred not to with the lack of preventative measures put in place by the university to limit the spread of COVID-19. Those who guide us, encourage us, help shape us into successful professionals — those are the people YSU will render jobless.
One area that didn’t see cuts: athletics. According to The Business Journal, athletics actually plans to increase its program next year to the tune of $885,000, accounting for 10% of each student’s tuition. We don’t know about you, but we’d rather have a creative writing program and our favorite teachers to still have their jobs.
While academic programs are being cut from a school, while teachers are threatened with losing their position after everything they’ve gone through in these past couple years, somehow, YSU found even more money to put into its already-heavily-funded athletic program.
This is not to say there is no value to athletics: athletic scholarships provide opportunities for some to attend college who would not have been able to afford receiving a higher education otherwise. Athletics also draws in students who would have not attended YSU otherwise. Athletics is a powerful marketing tool and it needs to be held to a high standard. If athletics does better, it can bring greater publicity to YSU, but as of now, athletics is not very prominent nationally.
However, the whole point of college is to receive a higher education. Even if the school has a wonderful athletics department and offers a potential student a scholarship, there are plenty of other universities that will also offer scholarships — universities with more programs to choose from. No matter how amazing athletics is, if there isn’t a program the potential student is interested in, they might go elsewhere. That is why cutting programs while increasing the athletic budget is not a solution to decreasing enrollment rates.
So as we say goodbye to the creative writing program — a program which many Jambar members have taken part in — we’ll be sure to catch the next game.
Until they cut us too,
The Jambar editorial staff