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Thousands petition against proposed cuts to humanities at UVM

By Katya Schwenk and Ellie French
Dec 3 2020

A view inside the Waterman building on University of Vermont campus in Burlington pre-pandemic. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger
Carolynn van Arsdale didn’t come to the University of Vermont expecting to be a religion major. But when she took a theology class on a whim, “the class changed my life,” she said. “The Religion Department really made me who I am, and has helped me figure out what I want to do with my life.”

The religion major is one of 23 programs in UVM’s College of Arts and Sciences that the university said Wednesday it plans to cut, as it grapples with a $27.9 million budget shortfall over the next three years. If the plans are finalized, 12 of the college’s 56 majors, 11 of 63 minors, and four of 10 graduate programs will vanish.

Van Arsdale, who will graduate in two weeks, is one of thousands of students and faculty who have voiced their opposition to the cuts in the day since the announcement. A petition to preserve the school’s religion major garnered more than 1,700 signatures in 24 hours — one of several petitions in circulation. After the announcement, the UVM student union called for an emergency meeting to discuss the proposed cuts, and a Facebook page dubbed UVM United Against Cuts drew a slew of posts worrying over the proposal. source

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