PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Bradley University announced Monday that it is considering discontinuing 17 academic degree programs and eliminating up to 68 faculty positions, and students are feeling the weight of its impact.
“A lot of people are disappointed, a lot of people are hurt. Some of my closest friends are losing some of their favorite professors on campus as a result of budget cuts and departmental shortages. It’s a very somber feeling on campus right now,” said Joseph Cyrus, who is a senior at Bradley.
Cyrus majors in music and entertainment industry and journalism at the university. While neither of those programs were directly impacted by the proposed budget cuts, he knows several people who have been affected.
With the proposed cuts, courses will continue to be offered in the programs as long as there are students working on completion. In terms of the number of students majoring in the proposed programs, it ranges from 0 to 22 students in each, at least at the start of the 2023-24 school year. For context, the largest majors at Bradley have 500-plus students.
Cyrus understands the university’s rationale on wanting to cut costs, especially with programs that no one is currently majoring in. However, he is confused as to how students currently enrolled in the programs will be able to complete their degrees at Bradley.
“If we’re cutting staff and we’re getting rid of essential personnel for those majors, how are students going to be able to finish them?”
Jacob Weinberg is a junior at Bradley and he majors in chemistry and philosophy. Philosophy is one of the five proposed “service units”, which will continue to offer classes but will no longer be able to be majored or minored in.
Weinberg is concerned about the future of Bradley as a comprehensive university. While his goal is to go to medical school, he appreciates the fact that he’s been able to study liberal arts.
“They might not have the best financial statistics, but they teach you much bigger and, in my opinion, more important ideas,” he said.
Weinberg has some friends that are underclassmen. He says several of them are “freaking out” amid the news. He fears there may be some who transfer to different colleges as a result of the budget cuts.
“I know I’ll be okay, and I’ll get my degree, but I feel for those who are younger and are questioning whether or not this is a viable option for them,” he said.
Weinberg reflected on his time so far at the university. He has enjoyed life at Bradley but wishes for a more transparent administration.
“I love Bradley University; I think that the higher-ups have an ultimate plan here. I just wish the communication was more direct, more smooth with the students,” Weinberg said.
There are plans for a walkout and protest on Bradley’s campus for next Tuesday. The goal is to show solidarity between faculty and students who are in opposition to the direction the university is heading in. A final decision will be made on Dec. 6.