French and comparative humanities degrees got the ax Monday from the Eastern Kentucky Board of Regents.
Other programs that had been recommended for suspension, including journalism, geography and horticulture, will instead be redesigned to become more “marketable and efficient.”
After almost a year of discussion, EKU faculty and administration created a list of possible program cuts aimed at reducing a $13 million shortfall. However, the final list will winnow only about $614,000.
Officials cautioned that French will be taught at EKU, but students won’t be able to major or minor in it or in French instruction. Current majors will receive their degrees.
All the regents voted for the cuts, except for the two faculty representatives, who cited conflicts of interest.
Still, board of regents chairman Craig Turner took an angry swipe at faculty over the length of deliberations and recent commentary about the cost of EKU’s rapidly expanding athletics program.
“The decision to engage all parties has not had the success I had hoped,” he said, reading from prepared remarks. “We lost focus on the task at hand ... if you don’t participate, you lose your voice.”
After the meeting, Turner said he was expressing frustration that the faculty senate declined to make program cut recommendations.
Turner also defended recent commentary and meetings about EKU’s athletics program, which has expanded in recent years. According to EKU officials, athletics programs generate about $2 million to $3 million a year but spend about $14 million. The rest is paid through the school’s General Fund.
Athletes “contribute greatly to better retention and graduation rates,” which will become even more important under the state’s proposed funding model for higher education, Turner said.
Football and basketball are losing millions, but that's okay. We'll just get rid of French. I mean, who majors in a dead language, am I right? Pass the popcorn and go Colonels!