Petition to re-instate Performing Arts circulates

Petition has over 1,800 signatures, calls for permanent Performing Arts funding


RYAN PUGH | Daily Evergreen File

Performing Arts instructor Mary Trotter, right, goes over how Ryan Dean, left, and Erin Rackliff can improve their scene in her class on Nov. 14 in Wadleigh Theatre.

YASMEEN WAFAI, Evergreen assistant editor

Supporters of Performing Arts circulated a petition on social media to preserve the program.

“It is impossible to provide a well-rounded education without a theatre program,” the creator of the petition wrote in a letter to WSU President Kirk Schulz.

The petition follows October’s announcement that WSU would eliminate its performing arts program due to spending cuts.

Performing Arts professor Benjamin Gonzales said he has heard of the petition and thinks any effort to maintain theater programming and classes is a good thing.

“Any support is great and fantastic,” Gonzales said.

He said he is not sure if anything like this has the potential to bring the program back, but he hopes so.

Gonzales said the decision to cut the programs was short-sighted and he does not know how well it was thought through. He said students and alumni have written to administration to change the decision, but he does not think any of them have received responses, so he is not sure if this petition would receive any response or acknowledgement.

Gonzales said when he first heard of the cuts, his initial thoughts were about the students, not about how he was going to lose his job. He said he is really concerned about the elimination of the program.

“[It’s] a very, very important educational opportunity,” Gonzales said.

However, he said it is great to see colleagues and students showing their support.

Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing and communication, was more concerned about the funding of the program.

“If folks can come up with a way to fund it permanently, then that’s great,” Weiler said.

Weiler said the university welcomes suggestions for increasing revenue and savings.

He said the challenge is finding permanent funding because for the last several years, the program has been surviving on savings.

The petition, which was created week ago, currently has over 1,800 signatures and has a goal of 2,500. According to the petition’s page, it will be delivered to President Kirk Schulz.

The creator of the petition could not be reached for comment.