“I love Emporia State University. I want to continue my education here, and making classes harder to get to or cutting my program altogether gives me no incentive to stay here.”
Emporia State’s political science program could be on the chopping block. Nine students donning bright yellow “#ESUpolisci” shirts gathered in the Union Square Tuesday morning to protest alleged discussions within the administration to suspend the program.
Oscar Lara, sophomore political science major, was one of the students protesting. Lara said that the protest was intended to inform students of the discussion to suspend the program.
“We need to let the students know (and) let the university know that their programs are in jeopardy,” Lara said.
Lara also said the students involved felt like a protest was part of the progression that they had planned. He said that the group had also used sit-ins and postcard writing campaigns to inform the administration of their discontent.
Lara said that he felt the demonstration was a success.
“We’ve had professors and students alike show support – sometimes vocal and sometimes silent – but around campus we are spreading the message,” Lara said.
Carrie Stanley, senior political science major and editor-in-chief for The Sunflower, agreed with Lara but said that she was more interested in what the administration thought.
“We can bring awareness to students here, but in the end, it’s really up to the administration and what they think,” Stanley said.
President Michael Shonrock was among those who stopped by to talk with the protesters. Shonrock said he was glad that students were getting involved and making their opinions known.
“I think it’s wonderful when students exercise their first amendment rights,” Shonrock said. “I think students should be active participants in their education, and they should take full advantage of the opportunity to express their first amendment.”
Lara added, though, that the protest was about more students exercising their right to assemble. He said he was concerned over his future as well.
“I want to continue my education,” Lara said. “I love Emporia State University. I want to continue my education here, and making classes harder to get to or cutting my program altogether gives me no incentive to stay here.”
According to students who were present, the vote to suspend the political science program has been shelved until next year, though discussions are continuing.