The entrance to the Staller Center for the Arts theaters. The Department of Theatre Arts has suspended admission. STATESMAN FILE

The Department of Theatre Arts will suspend admissions for any new students, according to an email sent to majors and minors on Friday by the department chair, John Lutterbie.

Lutterbie went on to inform students that current majors and minors will graduate with theatre arts degrees, and the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters will go on as planned. He said the department will eventually become a service-only program, designed to teach lower division SBC requirements. Many faculty will likely be fired as a result of the cutbacks, Lutterbie wrote.

“There are certainly many decisions the Dean [Sacha Kopp] and upper administration could have made to deal with their budget shortfall, this is the one they decided on despite, according to the Dean, positive trends in our department,” Lutterbie’s email read.

Sacha Kopp, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, did not provide a comment before the time of publication.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.



  1. I realize it was just announced on Friday. What I’m referring to is the overall lack of arts coverage I now see in Statesman. Even before there was a Fine Arts building (it was a parking lot, actually), Statesman carried extensive arts coverage. Now most of the stories I see are sports-related (not even much hard news). This is the benign neglect to which I refer.

  2. Before I retired from the library a few years ago I was the subject specialist in charge of developing and managing the Library Theatre Arts collection. I am totally shocked and angered by this. Why are the poor, inexpensive but essential Humanities at Stony Brook being scapegoated? This is truly shameful and unworthy of a major University.

  3. This is truly a dreadful development. Speaking as a holder of a degree in theatre from Stony Brook (Class of ’74), it is shattering to learn nothing has improved for theatre at Stony Brook in 40 years. Back then, we faced the indignities of having limited space (the department lived in the South Campus Building B, as it was known then), no proscenium stage we could call our own, and limited resources. But we had a terrific faculty and a we’re-in-this-together attitude among the students. And now, 40 years later, equipped with everything we lacked, the Theatre Department is essentially falling apart due to NYS and SUNY benign neglect. This is very sad indeed.

    And Statesman, as a former Managing Editor (’74) I wonder why it has taken so long for you to report this dramatic turn of events. This calls for much more extensive coverage than you’ve provided. Every day I receive emails from you, most of them touting coverage of the Sea Wolves or some sports-related activity. I rarely see anything arts-related in your pages. Perhaps, in your own, unintended way, you are passive supporters of the benign neglect inflected by the state on Stony Brook arts programs? Just saying…

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