SUU Cutbacks Freeze Fine Arts Program

SUU Cutbacks Freeze Fine Arts Program

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CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) -- Shrinking enrollment has combined with state budget cuts to eliminate $750,000 in funding from Southern Utah University.

No new students will be accepted into a master's program for fine arts, which will lose $100,000 or about a third of its funding.

All faculty and staff will go without raises for another year and their health care package will get less generous.

"This is not pretty," said Greg Stauffer, the university's vice president of administrative and financial services.

The fine arts program serves eight students a year, but won't take any newcomers this fall. Art students receive scholarships and earn wages working to promote the Utah Shakespearean Festival and American Folk Ballet.

Robert Fass, director of the fine arts program, said the cutbacks reflect economic realities and not the quality of the program.

"We're hopeful that what will result is a leaner, meaner graduate degree that will address the economic needs of the university without compromising the integrity of the program," he said.

Fine arts programs can be expensive.

"It involves a significant investment in students, meaning we waive their tuition and pay them for hands-on experience," Fass said. "That model is paralleled at campuses across the country, in our field anyway."

Continuing education will take a $155,000 budget hit and will have to become more self-sustaining, as will the paralegal program, computer numerical control program and other courses of study, Stauffer said.

Declining enrollment accounts for $528,000 of the reduced funding for Southern Utah University.

University budget director Brian Foisy said his school was being hurt by enrollment increases at Utah Valley State College, BYU-Idaho and Nevada schools.

Cutbacks will force faculty and staff to perform multiple jobs.

"These are not fun times to be in higher education," Foisy said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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