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Sad to lose Western’s Fine Arts Department

For its size, St. Joseph has an enviable cultural presence. There is a strong connection between Missouri Western University’s Fine Arts Department and St. Joseph’s art community, which includes our symphony, our excellent art museum, our community chorus and local theatrical organizations.

The Fine Arts Department has received many accolades for both student and faculty achievement. For several years they have hosted a national juried ceramics competition as well as an annual fall Senior Art Day, which is well attended by art students and their teachers from throughout the state.

In addition, Missouri Western has been the chosen recipient of an outstanding print collection. Furthermore, a nationally recognized sculptor has chosen the campus as the site for some of his landscape works. This occurred because the Fine Arts Department is highly respected.

This respect is validated by the considerable monetary support provided by community members belonging to the Fine Arts Society.

How sad it is to lose excellent programs and dedicated faculty.

Mary Helen Stuber

St. Joseph

Western has lost the right to call itself a ‘university’

I say this from the somewhat unique perspective of being the first person to complete all the hours for the bachelor’s degree at then Missouri Western College in 1970.

I see from the media reports that the administration and board of governors have taken the meat cleaver to the heart of the university’s programs because of some apparent gross mismanagement by the previous administration.

What many may be asking is, if the board of governors has the power to now approve such draconian cuts, why, three or four or five years ago did that same board not use the given authority to tell the administration, “No!” don’t spend the money on various programs, sports in particular, until absolutely certain the financial structure is completely sound?

I dare say that destroying the very heart of the academic arts and scientific programs removes Missouri Western from the right to claim it is still a university.

It is ironic, at least to me, the first graduate, that with pride I watched the institution grow from the humble start in the old junior college building Downtown to a fine campus with full academic programs, to now retreat into something short of all expectations.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the lack of proper oversight, starting with the various state governors who appointed the board members, the board members for not exercising due diligence, to administrators who did not understand the meaning of university, a community of scholars teaching and conducting research for the benefit of the student body.

I suppose the old building downtown is still available should things get worse, or maybe the Chiefs will make a deal and take the whole lot off our hands?

Robert Willoughby, Ph.D.

Retired professor of history