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GREAT UPDATE - Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Montana Retracts Warning About Deep Cuts to UMArts

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September 24, 2018View for printing

In a new email message, Stephen Kalm, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Montana, clarified misinformation sent by the director of the School of Music over the weekend concerning steep cuts and possible program eliminations within the college.

That message was sent broadly to the arts community, donors, alumni, and current and prospective students in Missoula and beyond.

"I am pleased to report that my fears for the future of art, music, and theatre and dance at UM were unfounded," Kalm wrote in the latest email.

His initial email message to directors in the college Saturday morning resulted in one of them, Director Maxine Ramey, sending the broader email communication. In it, Ramey quoted from Kalm's email, which said in part, "This cut, in no uncertain terms, would mean a reduction in our faculty to the levels where we would not be able to offer accredited degree programs in music education, performance, composition or a host of our other Bachelor of Arts in Music degrees."

In his clarification, Kalm wrote, "In our initial meeting, the provost's comments on budget targets were stated in general terms. I learned in my meeting with Provost Jon Harbor this morning that the budget targets are more closely aligned with the plan that I presented last spring. ... The plan allows us to maintain accreditation and the continuation of UMArts."

Harbor said the initial emails from both Kalm and Ramey were, unfortunately, inaccurate.

"Deans from every school and college across campus are engaged in funding discussions that are a part of an extensive process to arrive at budget targets for long-term planning" he said. "This process has been widely discussed and publicized, is ongoing, and no funding decisions have been finalized or announced."

The University is working to address a $10 million structural budget deficit announced earlier this spring, with a plan to be implemented over the next three years.

"President Bodnar has described the arts and humanities at UM as areas of distinction which are vitally important to our mission," said Harbor. "Many of our students choose UM for this distinction and the opportunity to learn in an awe-inspiring setting and in a community with a deep appreciation for human expression."

Contact: Paula Short, director of communications, UM Office of the President, 406-243-2311,

Reader Comments:

I know this must be a very difficult decision for the administration to take but it also made me wonder what Don Simmons, former Chair of the Music Department, his wife Pat or their son Academy Award winner JK would say about this with respect to how music influenced their lives and the lives of students and Missoula.

I hope all will share their thoughts about the wealth of culture that this department provides for Montana and the impact it has not only on music students but all students at the U of M.

I hope that something can be done to retain this vital force of innovation, society and life at the University of Montana. It's our future.

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