Over the past few weeks, students and faculty alike have been on edge with the news of the impending budget cuts. Budget cuts of around $14 million. The repercussions of these budget cuts started rolling out this past week after the last Town Hall meeting, and on Friday, February 10th, many professors in the theatre program received emails of their contracts from SOU expiring at the end of the year.
Students reacted in an uproar to this news delivered by their professors. Many posts were made on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat raising awareness of what is happening at their school. Many people are advertising for people to come to the town hall and show their support for the professors and the program. There was a planning meeting on Febuary 13th at 5:30 in the evening, in which students were gathered to come up with a plan to advocate for the theatre department.
At this meeting, which The Siskiyou was able to attend, students were introduced to the new group called the SOU Theatre Coalition. (on Instagram @southeatrecoalition). The meeting was led by Ollie Quant, Alexandra Szabo, Izzy Cheek-Falcinelli, and Adam Polin-Sproat. They thanked everyone for being there, and roughly 50 people showed up ranging from students, alumni, and staff alike.
There is a meeting on February 14th with the affected faculty in which people will learn more about what is happening. Quant emphasized the importance of showing the administration what they were capable of in the next couple of terms and writing letters to the administration. Szabo explained how the “brain” of the operation will be just a few people and students will all be working together in groups with community outreach in the next week and the next few months.
On the same day at 5:30 PM, there is a poster-making seminar and Valentines Day making event for the staff organized by the Actors Club in the main lobby of the theatre building at 5:30 PM. There is also a writing party in TA 255 on Wednesday 02/15 at 12:30 PM for people to meet and plan how to write their emails and what they want to speak about at Thursday’s Town Hall.
A major theme in this meeting was the idea of SOU being a family.
Szabo stated, “We’re not going away, because this is what family looks like at SOU, and we don’t want to be ashamed to call SOU home.”
The final speech was made by Professor of Technical Direction, Jesse Purkerson. He was very emotional and was so warmed by the number of people that showed up and emphasized that this is for the students and the future of their education. “When you are here, you are family… this place… we all know that we need everyone here to do what we do. No matter what happens, if you guys stick with this, you will be proud of yourselves for what you did. So, let’s go do a show!”
For students, faculty, and community members alike who want to support the programs and professors being lost in these budget cuts, they can attend the town hall this Thursday 02/16 at 9:00 AM in the Rogue River Room in the Stevenson Union at Southern Oregon University.