By Kayla Mackley
When searching for a college, it’s important to find a school that offers your program of interest. What if the school you fell in love with no longer offers your preferred program?
Within the past six years, KU made the devastating decision to remove musical theatre as a major program offered for incoming students. While talking with current students, they have expressed their deep remorse about the musical theatre program leaving KU.
KU sophomore and member of the student-run a cappella group, Kutztones, Zack Salamon said, “It kills me inside. [There are] so many passionate people here and they don’t have [that type of] outlet.”
A program such as musical theatre has the ability to bring together numerous students and departments throughout campus, including electronic media, communication studies, professional writing and more.
Kaylee Spector, junior, said, “So many people can get involved. It’s a shame that KU, with all its resources, doesn’t have a [musical theatre] program, especially with how creative our student body is.”
Many KU students have fond memories of performing in their high school’s shows. Sadly, many can no longer participate. Katherine Cruz, junior, said, “It sucks that I don’t get an opportunity to perform in musicals anymore.”
Personally, I have performed in several musicals throughout high school. It has made me a more confident person. I would love to be able to participate in musicals in college as well.
There are some students who may not be interested in the major but still find the program important to have on campus.
Bobby Rutherford, freshman, said, “I am personally not necessarily interested in being a musical theatre major, but I know a lot of kids are interested. You have to express music in every way possible.”
Melissa Gump, senior, is currently a voice concentration music major at KU. She has expressed her desire to be a musical theatre major.
She said, “If we had a theatre program, I would be a theatre major. I think [having the program return] would be a very positive thing. There is a lot of demand for it on this campus, but we just don’t have the funding at this point.”
I contacted Matt Santos, director of University Relations, in order to get a statement from KU’s president. President Hawkinson was asked to answer two questions regarding this topic: his view on this issue and if the program will once again be offered on campus.
In an email, President Hawkinson said, “The review of our academic offerings is an ongoing process that allows us [to] determine the best mix of courses to prepare all our graduates not only for a job, but also to prepare them to lead fulfilling lives wherein they can think critically, discern what is true and not true, and what is right and wrong.
“We certainly encourage and welcome feedback from current and prospective students regarding their course interests and will always consider any suggestions we receive through the review process,” he said.
Although the president was certainly willingly to provide a statement, he unfortunately failed to answer the questions presented.
Maybe at some point we will once again find a musical theatre major/program here at KU, but in the meantime, we must find different means of expression for our creativity.