By Carly Thompson / Staff writer
Emporia State University has made significant changes in its budget with the recent approval of the “Workforce Management Framework.”
This led to some long-time, tenured faculty being terminated, and an email announcement of academic programs that will be cut. The reason cited for the changes came from the lack of numbers in enrollment due to Covid-19. The suspended program list continued to grow, while 33 faculty members had been eliminated from the next academic school year. They are able to finish this academic year.
“I completed a (Bachelor’s degree) in English and history as well as (a Masters degree) in English,” said Ryan Diehl, ESU alumnus, and HutchCC English professor. “Those programs were listed in The Bulletin as being suspended. Plus, one of my all-time favorite professors, Dr. Mel Storm, who served as the first reader for both my undergraduate honors thesis and my master’s thesis, was one of the 33 faculty members who were dismissed. Some of my other favorite professors were among those 33 too.”
The faculty and program terminations have caused major upset among students and faculty members. There are also several complaints concerning the lack of educational diversity that these cuts will cause. There have been protests around campus with concerned students.
Students and staff are permitted to finish the 2022-2023 school year but will have to begin making tough decisions come spring for the next academic year.
The university does plan to work with terminated employees to possibly get them jobs around the state.
Zariah Barahona, an English major at Emporia State and HutchCC alumna, plans to finish the year and graduate. However, she will not be recommending Emporia State to other students.
“It wasn’t very considerate emotionally for staff and students,” Barahona said.
Sam Bailey, a communications major with a minor in journalism, said she believes that Emporia has some amazing professors and people around campus make it worth going. However, she recommends looking into the updated program list and professors before deciding if it is right for you.
“My journalism advisor is one of the people that was dismissed. So, he will be dismissed in May,” said Bailey, a HutchCC alumna and former Collegian Editor In Chief. “I am a senior, so my plans right now are to just continue through this year. I made sure to get my last journalism credits this semester because we had a feeling that something like this was going to happen.
“My plans will be to just ride out the storm and see where that takes us. I’m a little worried about what my degree will mean from a university that has cut so many programs, but I suppose I’ll just have to face that when it comes.”
Emporia State’s future remains as unknown as the future of current students and dismissed staff.