Theatre Arts majors and minors received an email on Friday from department chair John Lutterbie, announcing cutbacks, but the administration says no decisions have been finalized.

“No final decisions have been made on any program changes at this time,” Sacha Kopp, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said via email. “Should changes be made to programmatic offerings, the University ensures that all current students will be able to complete the course of study in which they are enrolled.”

Lutterbie’s email told students that the department will be scaled back to a service-only program to offer lower division courses. Lutterbie added that current majors and minors will graduate with theatre arts degrees and no changes have been made to course offerings for next semester.

Students are fighting back against the proposed cuts by starting petitions and speaking out in support of the department at the Student New Works Festival this past weekend. An online petition at change.org has signatures from 1,474 supporters.

“We’re theatre people,” Amanda Murphy, senior theatre arts major, said. “We’re very optimistic. We’re also uniquely attuned to protesting injustice because that’s what theatre is a lot of the time.”

  • Kofender

    Cutting the Theatre program would definitely not be in the best interests of anyone. No, it isn’t the largest department on the Stony Brook campus, but it has always been one of the most feisty ones. (Yeah, this is one of those “back in my day” moments; I’m a 1974 graduate with a degree in Theatre from Stony Brook).

    In the musical Avenue Q, a song asks, “What do you do with a B.A. in English?” Heck, a B.A. in English from Stony Brook is plenty more useful than one in Theatre. And yet, 43 years later I still have no regrets. I am proudly a Stony Brook graduate. I have used my degree often and proudly in various ways, finally retiring recently. Was everything I did theatre related? Not really, but quite a bit was. One of my career goals at the time was to be a theatre critic (or as I refer to it, going to the Dark Side). And the training I received at Stony Brook helped me start a couple of theatre companies on Long Island, work as a theatre critic for seven years for an NPR station and a couple of newspapers (including one I owned). It has helped me teach, perform, speak to large crowds, and apply my knowledge of theatre history to everyday situations. No, a degree in Theatre from Stony Brook is not useless; it has served me well over the decades.

    Cut Theatre at Stony Brook? The idea is ridiculous. SBU has the unique position among the state universities of being the closest to New York City theatre. Some of us have built careers from that. And though Theatre has always been the red-headed stepchild at Stony Brook, it has served its many graduates well. It might not be a B.A. in English, but my degree has always kept me in good stead.