One week after the University of Tulsa announced big changes and cuts, a growing number of students and faculty are speaking out.
"A lot of the students don't know how to take it and they're very frustrated with it,” said Michael Orcutt, a TU Junior. “I was upset, shell shocked, and frankly, I had a lot of questions.”
Orcutt says he's one of the hundreds of students impacted by what the University is calling True Commitment: Reimagining the University of Tulsa.
As part of the new program, TU will trim low-demand academic programs, some of which Orcutt is in, and revise curriculum, as well as increase some STEM programs.
While the changes won't go completely into effect until current students, like Orcutt graduate, he says he's worried for the future and decline of liberal arts programs.
"Professors are already making plans to leave and they're taking classes only they teach with them,” he said.
So to voice his frustration, Orcutt started a petition online demanding the University reverse True Commitment and be more transparent. In just a few days, that petition has already collected more than 3,400 signatures. TU says they're meeting with as many students as possible to address concerns, and they're aware of this and other upcoming protests.
President Gerry Clancy said last week, their decision was based on several factors, as they prepare for a nationwide drop in college graduates in about 10 years.
"This is preparing for that,” said Clancy. “Really having a robust set of programs and recruiting students here to Tulsa to work in those knowledge economy jobs and power the Tulsa economy."
Another protest is planned for Friday morning at TU. Some students and faculty are hosting a “mock funeral” to discuss the cuts.