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Post freezes art majors

By Alyssa Spagna, Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Kaitlyn Sottung

On Thursday, Sept. 30, the music department was given breaking news: the music education major is being frozen. This means that any incoming student at Post may not choose music education as a major, but the students who are already part of the program will be able to finish out their degree.

More news came for other arts students soon after. On Oct. 8, students in the department of theatre, dance and arts management received word that recruitment into the dance and arts management programs would freeze after this school year. 

With programs freezing, students are left wondering if they should stay at Post and what the future holds for their education.

“We got an email from Dr. McRoy who is the director of music education. He wasn’t beating around the bush at all. He just said ‘unfortunately the school has decided to freeze the music education major,’” sophomore music education major Ally Perticone said.

A large majority of the students found out this information while they were in chorus class.

“We were in chorus and everyone’s jaws dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After all the time and effort we put in,” senior music education major Kaitlyn Sottung said.

The music education majors and their faculty have worked hard to build their program.

“I want the administration to know that people are hurting. It’s not only us, it’s also the faculty. I feel very bad for everyone in my department, especially the faculty because I know how much hard work they put into this. I see the hard work that everyone puts in,” sophomore music education major Mike Shapiro said.

Students in the program thought that  all of their hard work and effort was paying off, especially seeing as the university advertises the music program on various media platforms.

“I think it’s just really unfair. The school portrays their music program and all the opportunities we have here as this great big deal, which it is,” Perticone said. “It’s a really good program we have here. But I hate that they portray it as something bigger than it is. If it’s so great, why are they getting rid of it?” 

There is even a banner on campus stating that Post was rated the best music school on Long Island.

“This program is so near and dear to me and to watch it be ripped away from future students is heartbreaking,” Sottung said.

Some students hope that others will join them in trying to fight for their program, while others think there’s no chance of restoration.

“When they took away the Fine Arts Center (FAC), we were able to advocate for ourselves and help restore the program by having the school put practice rooms in Hillwood. So, I think if we really get the word out and talk to higher administration to fight for our program, it might help,” Shapiro said.

“I personally think that fighting for it isn’t going to work. This is not something we can change their minds on. I don’t think it’s worth trying for,” Perticone said.

The next steps for the music program are unclear at this time, as students and faculty alike continue to grapple with this sudden change despite the decision that the school’s administration made. It’s clear the music community on campus is still strong, and will continue to focus on their craft as long as the school’s administration allows them to.

Students from the dance and arts and administration department are also fighting for their programs.

Junior dance major Abby Steinke recalls all of the opportunities she has received through Post’s dance program.

“We’ve had the opportunity to see companies and work with artists that are high calibre. We’ve been able to choreograph ourselves, like I’ve gotten to choreograph and make my own artistic voice show,” Steinke said.

Steinke says that the Post Concert Dance Company (PCDC) is like a family. She doesn’t think she would be the person she is today without it.

Steinke and the rest of PCDC found out Friday Oct. 8 that their program was to be frozen at the end of the year.

“I was shocked,” Steinke said. “The first thing I wanted to do was be like, okay what can we do to stop it? I’ve been emailing administration, and I messaged the theatre company to email them. I think strength in numbers really works. I think if everyone has something to say about it, then they should listen.”

Steinke has some ideas on how to get the campus’ attention, other than emailing.

“We’re thinking of doing some video things, maybe some flash mobs. The dance program has a big presence in the department, but we need to make that known to campus,” Steinke said.

Steinke believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on this decision. She says that last year the dance program was meant to bring in 13 new students, but ended up only bringing in three. 

“I think we need a chance to grow as a program through the pandemic and not getting a chance seems unfair,” Steinke said.

Steinke’s next steps are getting as much attention as possible from as many people as she can.

“Email your president, email Promise, email your dean, email our dean, email chairs; email anyone you can. These programs are important and they are bringing more people to this school. They are bringing culture to this school, arts to this school,” Steinke said.

Steinke urges the administration who is cutting these programs to listen to the students.

 “Please listen to the student body, please listen to what we have been sending you, please reconsider the freeze,” Steinke said. 

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