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‘Fighting Aces’ group organizes gathering to protest UE realignment plan

Students, alumni, community members participated in Sunday’s protest
Updated: Jan. 24, 2021 at 11:17 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Dozens of protesters lined up outside the University of Evansville on Sunday afternoon, voicing their opinions regarding the University’s realignment plan.

As 14 News previously reported, the President’s plan would cut three departments, 17 majors and nearly 40 faculty members.

[READ MORE: UE announces academic realignment plan, multiple majors could be cut]

Among the protesters included faculty, students, alumni and other community members.

Protesters told 14 News they lined up along Lincoln Avenue in an attempt to make a statement to UE administrators, saying they don’t want to see majors like Spanish, music or religion be cut.

“We’re here to tell them that they should stop,” UE student and Spanish major Harmonee Baltzell said. “Put out a new plan.”

“We feel the kind of cuts that they are proposing will basically destroy this University,” UE alumnus and former University adjunct instructor Gordon Jones said.

Baltzell says she wants the University to find a better solution than just cutting these programs completely.

“I’ve had a friend who’s said they’ve had multiple high school students who were coming to UE - applying to UE for a Spanish major, foreign language major - and now they can’t because it’s being cut,” Baltzell said.

“Cutting political science, Spanish, the entire music department, philosophy and religion,” Baltzell continued. “I mean we are a Methodist-associated university. How can you cut the entire religion department.”

UE professors feel similarly.

Dr. Edwin Lacy, an adjunct instructor with UE’s Department of Music, will be out of the job if the current plan moves forward.

“I’m here to support the University, specifically support the music department,” Dr. Lacy said. “And to try to encourage the administration to look at other ways of solving the problem rather than cutting departments.”

Protesters say until the administration can level with them on the situation, they will continue demonstrating.

“The input of the faculty is really important in this whole matter because they know what works in this University, and they are the heart of this University,” Jones said.

While the group called “The Fighting Aces” put together Sunday’s protest, organizers from “Save UE” also helped with the demonstrations, as well as have assisted with the effort to stop the proposed realignment plan from proceeding.

UE President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz says he’s informed faculty that the University will be extending the comment, discussion, recommendation and proposal period for the draft realignment plan until the end of February.

“There are other ways to deal with the problem that will do the University a lot more good in the long run,” Dr. Lacy said.

14 News reached out to UE officials for comment regarding Sunday’s protest, responding with no comment.

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