UE drops plans to cut its music department

By The Associated Press

EVANSVILLE — The University of Evansville has dropped its plans to eliminate the school's music department following an outcry by students, alumni and community members.

School officials announced Monday that instead of cutting the department they will take steps to expand its reach throughout the community by establishing a music conservatory, creating a music therapy clinic and renovating campus performance space.

In December, the university released an “academic realignment draft plan” that included eliminating the music department. But that proposal faced immediate pushback, with alumni warning it would have a harmful ripple effect on southwestern Indiana’s arts and culture.

“As soon as we made this announcement, we began hearing from you,” Provost Michael Austin said in a video Monday morning. “... We listened."

The new plan arose from a collaboration between faculty, the administration, trustees, alumni and community partners, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

Austin said all five degrees will be maintained under the new plans for the music department, and the Evansville campus' Wheeler Concert Hall will undergo a $3 million renovation.

The university also plans to launch the University of Evansville Music Conservatory, possibly as early as this fall, to provide private lessons to students from preschool to high school, as well as adults. A music therapy clinic is also in the works.

The Friends of UE Music also plans to double its fundraising contributions to the music department.

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