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YSU Dana School of Music Major Cuts

YSU Dana School of Music Major Cuts

The future of the Dana School of Music has recently been heavily debated in the media, as they have announced the closure and cuts of various majors. They are closing various undergraduate programs and graduate programs.

The school announced the cut of four majors: Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Music in Composition, Master of Music in Composition, and Master of Music in Jazz Studies. Becky Rose, the YSU Director of Marketing and Communications, told 21 News that these programs had consistently low enrollment and an estimated 12 graduates in the past 5 years. 

Students currently enrolled in these majors will be allowed to complete them. However, up to 13 faculty members from these programs will be laid off. Becky Rose says a voluntary retirement program will be extended to the faculty getting laid off. 

However, YSU’s program cuts are not just limited to their music program. They also announced the cuts of the geography program, the art education program, the interdisciplinary studio art program, and the digital media/ photography program. 

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Interim Provost Dr. Jennifer Pintar said that the school will be making an effort to emphasize the more populated music programs, such as recording arts, music education, and music performance. 

Many students expressed their disapproval of the program cuts. The same day YSU made this announcement, around 100 students protested outside Tod Hall in Youngstown to show their support for the music program. “The effects of losses in these programs will be felt well beyond the walls of YSU, and we heard from some of the students and faculty about those damaging effects in the meeting today,” YSU OEA President Mark Vopat said in a statement. A petition on has been made in support of the school. Currently, there are almost 24,000 signatures to save Dana’s music programs from being cut. 

I interviewed Dana School of Music alumni Mr. Robert Antonucci regarding this announcement. Mr. Antonucci received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in 1995, and his masters in 2003, and has been working in music education for 29 years. He works with students who attended the Dana School of Music as well as interact with faculty. A majority of the student teachers he receives come from this school, however, the closure should not affect whether or not he can continue receiving student teachers because the music education department is not going through any cuts. 

      He believes that the closing of these music programs will affect students, as they are making changes with the staff members. Some professors will be removed entirely, some will be demoted to being part-time available, and some will remain in their full-time positions. When applying to music school, you have to choose an instrument to major in. Each instrument previously had a full-time staff member that is readily available to them at all times. Having part-time staff means that students will be limited to the time they can work with them. Mr. Antonucci holds this same kind of position at Westminster College, and he says his students only have access to him for around three hours a week. He believes that the quality of the school will decline, as Dana is one of the oldest music schools in the country, and has been acknowledged by famous musicians such as John Philip Sousa. Mr. Antonucci said, “Musicians coming out of Dana and YSU perform, even currently, in some of the top bands in the country. Alumni do great things from there.” 

     He believes that with the cuts it will be more difficult for the school to maintain this same quality. However, he said that it seems to be a recent trend with all colleges to remove liberal arts and humanities majors and move the focus toward STEM majors. “It’s disappointing,” says Mr. A. “I can’t imagine school without music. When I was having a tough time, music helped me through it.” 

I spoke to Lowellville senior Micheal Gibson, who is planning on attending Dana School of Music about his thoughts on this announcement. He plans on receiving a Bachelor’s Degree at Dana for Jazz Guitar, but due to the recent cuts, he is concerned about being able to do this. He expressed that he does not want to change his major, especially since he’s been completing CCP courses since sophomore year, but if music performance isn’t in demand, he may have to come up with a backup plan. He stated, “I hope this is the only cut they will make to the music program because Dana is a pretty well-known music school in the U.S. In fact, my old guitar teacher was able to get a job teaching guitar at NYU after he graduated from Dana, which says a lot about the program.”

Overall, these closures will affect many people, including  YSU students and staff, not to mention high school students in the area looking to attend Dana School of Music in the future.. If you are interested in trying to save the programs being cut in Dana”s music programs you can sign the petition on 


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