UNL proposes closure of textiles, merchandising, and fashion design programs

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 11:05 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s budget is feeling the effects of COVID-19.

It’s set to go through another round of cuts this fall.

The goal is to save the university an estimated $22 million but those cuts would also mean the end to several majors, programs, and departments as a whole.

The biggest proposed department cut is The Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design which currently has just over 100 students, faculty, and staff.

On any given day you’ll see students with their heads down, hard at work, designing, creating, and innovating.

“Merchandizing or apparel design those are our two biggest most popular majors, as well as fashion communications through the journalism school,” said Michael Burton an assistant professor. “A textile science degree and we also offer a Bachelor of Arts and Ph.D. degrees.”

It’s not the only program of its kind to be cut in recent years.

Most recently The University of Nebraska at Omaha got rid of its fashion program, making UNLs the only one of its kind within a 200-mile radius.

“The only comparable program that some of us are doing is in New York,” said Adria Renee a graduate student. “To put us on the same kind of playing field as that is really kind of incredible.”

If the program is cut students currently enrolled will be able to finish their four years but, likely, they won’t have the same amount of resources.

“Really provided a lot of opportunities,” said Heather Striebel a Ph.D. candidate. “I’ve gotten to show at Omaha Fashion Week three times so far and I’m currently working on a film.”

For many there, the department is a second home and the thought of it closing its doors is devastating.

“It’s so welcoming,” said Jennifer Lopez an undergraduate student. “It’s so diverse we have people from all different life backgrounds and its really refreshing.”

The students have started a petition to try to save the program as well as a write-in campaign.

The group in charge of finalizing the cuts, the Academic Planning Committee, will meet with the department on October 14th at 3 p.m.

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