Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
West Virginia University students took to the streets in a passionate display of protest against proposed cuts to graduate and undergraduate programs. The proposed cuts included the discontinuation of 32 majors, which would potentially eliminate all foreign language degrees and language requirements.
The walkout, staged by students, faculty, and staff at the Downtown and Evansdale campuses, drew attention to the seriousness of the situation. Many participants were dressed in red, symbolizing their unity and support for the cause. The protesters carried signs, some of which were written in foreign languages, emphasizing the detrimental impact of the cuts on the language department.
Among the attendees, one student held up a sign that read “Power to the Puppets,” objecting to the potential discontinuation of the BFA Puppetry program. The creative expression showcased the students’ determination to protect their passions and preserve the diverse range of educational opportunities available at the university.
In addition to the program cuts, the proposed measures included downsizing staff in various departments. This further fueled the activists’ determination to make their voices heard and advocate for the value of these programs and the positive impact they have on students and the university community as a whole.
Interestingly, the walkout coincided with an announcement about President Gordon Gee’s retirement plans in 2025. Some signs at the protest specifically targeted Gee’s signature bow tie, expressing discontent with his leadership and the decisions being made.
The significance of the event was not lost on the media, with 12 News reporters Jalyn Lamp and Makayla Schindler providing comprehensive coverage of the walkout. Their reports were featured on the 12 News First Edition at 5 and 12 News at 6, ensuring that the students’ message reached a broader audience and garnering support for their cause.
The demonstration served as a powerful reminder of the collective determination of the students, faculty, and staff at West Virginia University to preserve and protect the quality and diversity of their educational offerings. It highlights the need for open dialogue and collaboration between university administrators and stakeholders to ensure that decisions reflect the best interests of the entire university community.