The University Undergraduate Academic Council voted 7-2 against the university’s proposal to discontinue majors in agribusiness, animal science and environmental science during a meeting Wednesday.
Dr. Susan Lewis, vice provost, said in an email that although the proposal and the responses from the department and the dean included many details, the council’s scope Wednesday was to vote solely on the proposal to discontinue the three majors.
Because the UUAC voted against the proposal, it cannot go before the full faculty for a vote.
However, the result of the UUAC vote does not yet effect university plans to move other AES majors into the department of Biology.
Mandy Scudder, administrative coordinator in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science, said there was a round of applause from students when the announcement was made in AES Chapel Thursday morning.
“Today we’ve got something to celebrate,” Scudder said. “We’ve been noticed. We felt validated. But just like Dr. Brokaw said this morning, ‘We’ve won a battle, not the war.'”
Scudder said the department does not know what the next steps are.
“We are confused because we are halfway through the spring semester and we were not planning on accepting students this fall, all of sudden now we might be accepting new students,” she said.
Council members are Dr. Greg Powell, Dr. Paul Lakey, Dr. Steve Wages, Dr. Don Pope, Dr. Sam Stewart, Dr. Sheila Jones, Dr. Jeanene Reese, Dr. Debbie Williams and Dr. Vernon Williams. None could be reached for comment Thursday.
Dr. Joe Cardot, faculty senate chair and a non-voting member of the UUAC, was present at the meeting until all non-voting members were asked to exit and the UUAC voted.
“Whenever things like these are examined, it usually always is for reasons identified by administration that suggest that the program is not viable,” he said.
However, Cardot noted the department showed a 20 percent growth in majors, and there is personnel available for hire that could replace the missing faculty.
“It becomes more of a need to trim the budget, rather than we are just very unhappy with it,” he said. “The administration drew some conclusions based on data that they thought it was a good time to do that.”