BURLINGTON – In a sudden and unexpected move, the University of Vermont has completely solved its huge deficit crisis by cancelling six fine arts classes in the music and dance departments. The elimination of the classes is projected to save the university over four million dollars next year, fully reducing the budget deficit to zero.
Although the move has saved UVM from financial ruin, not everyone is happy with the decision. Dr. Tonerow, the chair of the music department resigned immediately, saying that he would not return until his full budget of $178M is restored.
“It’s madness,” Tonerow told our reporters. “How are we supposed to run a music department without support from the university? Are they asking us to pay our adjunct professors less than a quarter million per credit hour? We’d never get anyone. Musicians aren’t going to work for free you know. They have some self-respect, some standards. Those six classes only cost UVM four millions dollars, but the experiences the students got out of those classes were priceless. History of the Minor Third was the most popular class in the entire university for the past three years, and now it’s just gone? And we can no longer offer Intro to Beatboxing? Surely the budget gurus can find some other department to steal from.”
The University will be hard-pressed to find another department as flush with cash as the fine arts departments. Historically, music and dance have been the subjects with the strongest financial support by a wide margin at colleges and universities all across the country. Other departments, such as athletics, traditionally ask students to pay for their own supplies and often hold fundraisers for rare trips to other schools to compete against rival athletes. Musicians and dancers, in contrast, generally get full scholarships, free room and board, and are often even paid a stipend to attend classes and perform concerts.
“Honestly, I think it’s about time we took some of that excessive arts money away,” said the head coach of the UVM men’s basketball team. “We haven’t been able to buy new uniforms since 1986, and they’re getting a little ratty. Plus, we have the opportunity to play an away game this year in New Hampshire, but without a couple thousand extra dollars, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to go. I’d hate to disappoint the players, especially the seniors, since we couldn’t afford to go to any away games last year.”
A proposal is currently circulating that would ask adjunct music professors to take a pay cut and work for only $200,000 per credit hour, but the musicians aren’t budging, saying there is no way they could make a living at such a low wage. As the semester starts to wrap up, they have less than two months to reach an agreement before classes start, or don’t, in the spring.