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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Marshall Students Rally Against WVU Budget Cuts

Meredith+Shuff+designed+a+poster+that+she+brought+to+the+WVU+Rally.
Matthew Schaffer
Meredith Shuff designed a poster that she brought to the WVU Rally.

Marshall students and professors alike gathered in the Memorial Student Center Plaza on Friday, Sept. 8, to show solidarity with the students of West Virginia University following proposed budget cuts.

The budget cuts would see multiple academic programs in world languages, linguistics and literature cut, as well as cuts to several graduate and doctoral programs including those in music, English, math and more.

“I kept hearing about all these cuts going on at WVU before the semester began,” said Matthew Lebo, rally organizer and Marshall student. “It could not be more self-destructive, and the administration of WVU knows that.”

WVU is facing cuts because of declining enrollment, high employee costs and lingering economic effects of COVID-19, leading to a $45 million deficit. The participants in the rally hope to combat the cuts through petitions started by Lebo.

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“We are asking Governor Justice to call a special session of the legislature to allocate to WVU $45 million of emergency funding that should prevent the cuts that are slated to be approved next week, and we are asking for higher education funding in general for all of the public universities in West Virginia, so we don’t have to see another crisis like this happen,” Lebo said.

While Marshall also faces a deficit, President Brad D. Smith maintained Marshall’s plans to expand and introduce cost-control options rather than program cuts. However, some students still fear that these cuts could influence Marshall as well.

“WVU and Marshall are West Virginia; you don’t have one without the other,” Ella Hiles said. “I’m in the history department, one of the smallest yet one of the most nationally published departments. There is a good chance that if these budget cuts came to Marshall, the history department would be on the chopping block.”

While some students fear for the possible future at Marshall, others like Meredith Shuff say that they are more worried about their fellow students at WVU who could lose the program that they are enrolled in.

“I have a lot of friends and a lot of family that go up there,” Shuff said. “I learned that one of my closest friends won’t be able to continue his program, and that makes me really upset because I’m getting a quality education that I want to get, but he can’t.”

On Wednesday, WVU faculty voted to pass two resolutions to freeze the cuts, as well as a no-confidence vote for WVU President Gordon Gee.

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