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UM Students Plan Protest Rally Over Humanities Budget Cuts

Photo courtesy of Jon King
Photo courtesy of Jon King

Some University of Montana students plan on holding a rally tomorrow, December 11, to protest budget cuts at the college of the humanities. Erin Goudreau is an English major and member of a group of students called UMunited who believe the cuts should also come from other departments and even the administration.

“We don’t approve of explicitly directing these cuts, in a very particular way, toward the college of humanities and sciences, Goudreau said. The very areas that are struggling right now are being targeted, facing repercussions for that struggle, and are going to further struggle because they will be less solid as majors. You will see that in terms of fewer students coming to study those majors and it seems to me like a negative feedback loop.”

Natalie Stockmann, an Environmental Studies major, says that the administrations timing and open comment period have made it very difficult for students to voice an opinion.

“In terms of the timing [of the announced cuts…], it was awful for students and faculty. If you think about it, the cuts were announced and the comment period ended on Wednesday, right before Thanksgiving break when lots of students were beginning to travel. There are lots of other ways they could have addressed our comments, one of the ways would have been to put up a survey on Cyber Bear, which is our university online system. That’s how our polls work and it would have been a great way to get a lot of comments.”

The rally will begin at the Griz statue at 11:30 a.m., after which the students will march to deliver a petition to UM President Royce Engstrom. According to Stockmann, over 2,000 people have signed the petition and around 200 have said they plan on showing up for the rally.

The petition happens to be the same one that the Missoula Advocates for the University of Montana were circulating right after the budget cuts were announced.

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