Chris Schulz Published

Students React To Proposed WVU Cuts

International flags hang behind arches and above an alcove in West Virginia University's student union The Mountainlair. Students can be seen sitting and standing in the hall below.
International flags hang in the WVU student union The Mountainlair Aug. 17, 2023.
Chris Schulz/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

To save money, West Virginia University is looking to cut 32 majors and completely dissolve its world language department. In recent years, state government funding dropped, as did enrollment. Meanwhile, the university made investments like construction and taking over hospitals.  

The proposed cuts were announced just days before the start of the fall semester, as students returned to campus.

Cortez Blount is a freshman from Washington, D.C. He’s a business major and had his eye on a minor in languages.

“But now since languages are getting cut, it’s kind of like, gotta keep my decisions limited,” he said.

Blount said if the cuts go through, he may be looking elsewhere for his degree.

“I’ll give it my sophomore year and if things isn’t changing, then transfer might be an option,” Blount said.

The programs and classes on the chopping block would continue to be taught through at least May of next year. The university’s final decision on cuts is expected in September.

Students like sophomore Gabby Cotton said they are dismayed by the proposals, but she said she doesn’t feel like there’s much she can do about it. 

“There’s a lot of advertisement for cultural diversity and stuff, but they’re kind of going back on that now with that literally being cut out,” Cotton said. “I’m still gonna go here. I mean, I’m a broke college student, I don’t really have a lot of choices.”

However not all view the proposals negatively. With no language program, the university is also considering dropping language requirements for all majors.

Geography major Kevin Harter said he struggled with language classes in high school, so no language requirement suits him.

“I’d rather put that time into geography or another Earth Science class or something like that,” he said. “So, I am in favor of it.”

Deans and faculty of all affected programs have until Aug. 18 to file an appeal, and protests are planned on campus for Monday.