Students and faculty are continuing their fight to save two visual-art programs at Capilano University.
University administrators recently announced plans to suspend a range of programs to eliminate a $1.3-million budget deficit. Under the proposal, the two-year studio-art and textile-arts diploma programs would no longer accept new students.
In response, an online petition opposing the cuts has garnered more than 3,000 names and hundreds of names have been added to a hard-copy petition.
“I think it’s a travesty,” Jennifer O’Keeffe, a graduating studio-art student, told the Straight. “I think that they [university administrators] don’t understand the importance of art in the community and for culture.”
The protests over the cuts have taken other forms as well. Students shrouded their work in black during a recently launched graduate-art showcase. They also symbolically destroyed some student-created works of art at the North Vancouver campus, instructor and sculptor George Rammell said.
“Their attitude is that there is no point in having their art on campus if administration doesn’t want an art program on campus,” Rammell told the Straight by phone. “What’s really interesting about this is how the students are taking this on from so many different directions.”
Bill Gibson, the university’s interim vice-president, academic and provost, said the administration has met with students to hear their concerns.
“We’re very open. There’s no problem with that,” Gibson told the Straight by phone. “But the fact is, if you say, ‘We’re not going to do this [cut the two programs],’ we still have to come up with $1.3 million. If you put anything back on the list, you have to take something off the list or come up with an alternate source of funding.”
A final decision on the cuts is expected on May 14.