FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A rally was held in Fairmont Monday afternoon as community members and alumni came together to show their support for the music and theater programs that were recently cut at Fairmont State University.
The programs are well known throughout the state, and many students attended the university specifically for the arts programs and the quality education that the well established program provides.
Fairmont State has several successful alumni who graduated from the arts programs including Jeremy Crawford, who is in the television show The Witcher.
Marion County native, Natalie Tenannt was also in attendance to show her support of the arts and explained they’ve been a big part of her mother’s and daughter’s lives.
“When I think about this I think, ‘What are we going to lose? What is some young woman or young man going to lose?’ and now I can also look at my own child and think, ‘if she didn’t have the opportunity to be in theater, I don’t know what I would do, I don’t know what she would do’, and certainly as a mother I don’t know what I would do,” said Tennant.
The university has cut several faculty members involved in the arts, Francene Kirk, the Abelina Suarez Professor of Communication and Theater explained she’s not worried about herself but rather her students who will be forced to either transfer institutions or change their majors if they have more than 60 credit hours to complete before receiving their diplomas in these programs.
Those who have 60 credits or less will be given one year to complete their education before the program is completely removed.
“I’m heartbroken for the freshman who called me who was majoring in theater education and said, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do now, what am I going to do?’ For the sophomore who called me and said, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m lost.’ For the people who are in the professional world who now are going to have to say, ‘well, I went to school at Fairmont State but my program doesn’t exist anymore,'” stated Kirk.
Kirk and other speakers at the rally stated that the service courses included in the College of Liberal Arts pay for a majority of the programs being cut.
Falcons for the Arts and Falcons Fighting for the Arts are two organizations trying to come up with a solution during this uncertain time including filing an injunction at the Marion County Court House.