Lyceum, a program that served as a hub for collaboration among various arts and humanities programs departments, has suffered a loss of funding as a result of University budget cuts.
Not only does this result in the loss of visibility for ULV, but also for the humanities and arts departments.
The defunding of Lyceum represents a larger problem: whenever budget problems arise, arts and humanities are often the first to take a hit.
Lyceum, which was introduced in 2016 by Lawrence Potter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, sought to integrate various events – concerts, lectures, recitals, photography and art exhibitions – into an umbrella framework.
The combined funding from different departments, as well as fundraising efforts on the part of University Advancement, allowed the University to not only feature guests of more renown – which in turn, brings ULV to further prominence – but also allows students the opportunity to be exposed to different prestigious artists, musicians, and ideas.
Costs for Lyceum are partly covered through money within the various departments that it encompasses, and partly through sponsorship.
This year, Lyceum was sponsored by the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Fundraising for the program also comes from offering subscriptions for membership in Friends of the Arts.
Members’ names are listed in pamphlets offered at various events, like Sundays at the Morgan.
The recent cutting of the temporary administrative support position for Lyceum, as well as other roadblocks, has halted promotion and organization of the program’s events.
The University has difficult decisions to make in regards to budgetary problems.
A new residence hall has to be built – which is underway – for incoming students since the old dormitories are no longer up to code.
A health and science building must be built, especially after faculty have requested time and time again for more classroom spaces and newer, better functioning laboratories.
The University’s plans for development operate like a set of dominoes.
The building of the new dormitory and dining hall allows for fresh revenue generated from revamped housing fees.
This will further support he conversion of Davenport Dining Hall into a Health and Wellness Center as well as the repurposing of space where the old dormitories will be torn down.
The last development, in turn, allows for a new interfaith center and the demolition of the old one.
The latter would allow for new space for a health and science building.
But the cuts made to arts programs like Lyceum only hurt the University in the long run, especially when promotion of programs that are intended to feed the intellectual development of the student body lead to increased prominence of the University and, in turn, increased interest from prospective students and possible donors.
Money must now be scrounged through fundraising or through various cost-cutting measures in order to fund these new developments.
However, it should not have to happen at the expense of arts and humanities programs that bring such prestige to the University like Lyceum.
Arts and humanities should not always have to suffer because of to some misguided notion of the expendability of such “softer” subjects within those departments.
Instead, the University should opt for alternate solutions, preferably those that do not hurt the University’s appeal in the long run.