Thoughts on Saturday’s final theatre performance
Saturday night I attended the final performance of the WSU Theatre Program – The Laramie Project. Our students did a tremendous job, as they always have, and I am very grateful they extended an invitation for me to share the experience. It was clearly an emotional night for all of us. One student came to me at the end of the evening and said, “Do you feel bad about this too?” I immediately responded, “Yes, I do as well.”
I have always maintained that it is important for WSU to have a strong Theatre and Dance Program. It was for that precise reason I made significant investments in the program to enhance its quality upon my arrival here. Unfortunately, too many additional resources were required in both personnel and its physical plant and I had no place to turn when our budget continued to be reduced by the state. Eliminating Theatre and Dance was something I would have thought to been unimaginable several years ago. Our students, faculty and staff have always worked hard and with passion.
However, higher education is currently operating in a budget crisis – there is simply no other way to put it at this point – which has forced unfair and unthinkable decisions.
Please know that I have tried to be as fair as possible in this entire process – hosting forums, responding to letters and encouraging our students to express their views. They should do so, and as president, I should listen to them – and I promise, I did.
Those in the department always treated me with respect, and under the circumstances, I could not be more grateful for that. I have developed many meaningful relationships through these experiences, and I thank everyone for their very thoughtful and measured discussions. I just wish the circumstances were different.