Simpson students protest cuts of 13 faculty members

INDIANOLA, Iowa  --  Simpson College students are making sure their voices are heard after a second round of cuts this year has them saying goodbye to over a dozen of their professors. Last week the college announced the layoffs of 13 full-time employees and cuts to the entire art department, as well as French and German majors.

Friday afternoon students protested the cuts outside the board of trustees meeting demanding more transparency in the program prioritization made by administration and reconsider eliminating departments and majors all together.

“I want to make sure that I leave an institution that I'm proud of, that offers the kind of high quality education that I got here,” Simpson senior Tim Palese said. “It's an exemplary department; All the departments I'm a part of. And I honestly think that they should be preserved. Even if they grow and change, they do need to stay a part of this institution.”

Jill Johnson, the VP of Marketing and Communications at Simpson, told Channel 13 last week that the cuts are based on data showing the declining enrollment in these specific area of studies. But students say they should have a say in their education and fear the quality of their degree will diminish.

“I fear that they will be gone,” Simpson senior Cierra Clark said. “I fear that I can't talk about or I won't be distinguished enough coming from Simpson College with my arts degree because I think it will be gone in a few years.”

Protesters also say they are afraid the quality of their school will decrease as well, only leading to more enrollment issues.

Members of the board stood next to protesters listening to speeches from multiple students who are most affected by these cuts. Board members were also given a list of demands which states “The aim of our demands is not to point blame or hate at the administration. We protest out of love for Simpson College and concern for its future students.”

“Now that it will no longer be the Foreign Language Department, it will only be the Spanish Department, is something that really scares me,” Simpson junior Angela Eppens said. “As someone who is studying multiple languages I think it's really important to have more than one. There's more than one cultural perspective on everything.”

Students also stated that these cuts will affect more than just the arts and foreign languages, but also other majors like history and physics who may lose up to half of their faculty members.