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Vancouver Island University’s music program at risk of shutting down

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Island University music program at risk of shutting down'
Vancouver Island University music program at risk of shutting down
Vancouver Island University's music program is at risk of playing its final notes. Budget shortfalls and lack of enrolment are threatening its existence. As Kylie Stanton reports, if the proposed cut goes through, it would leave a significant void. – Mar 12, 2024

Vancouver Island University’s music program is at risk of playing its final notes.

Music students have trained at the school for more than four decades and the current students have started a letter-writing campaign.

The school has been grappling with multimillion-dollar deficits since the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also facing a $9-million shortfall this year.

The university said a new jazz diploma program, scheduled to launch this fall, has fewer than 10 applications and the Bachelor of Music program has just 14 students enrolled.

The university senate recently approved a proposal to remove both programs, but that has yet to pass through the board.

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Music student Anaise Labonte said she was very disappointed by the news.

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“The fact that it was an art program to cut speaks to the fact that arts is not seen as a priority,” she said.

The former music chair of the university, Brent Jarvis, said this news is devastating.

“We think it represents a misunderstanding as to what the investment in the community, the university, has been to music here,” he said.

“We are surprised that values in our programs are not being valued in the same way.”

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In a statement, Vancouver Island University said the board of governors will make a final decision, which is expected to happen in the next few weeks.

The school also said it is committed to supporting all currently enrolled students.

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