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University of the Arts Students Call for Help from Other Colleges and Conservatory Programs

The school announced that it would close with just eight days notice.

By: Jun. 04, 2024
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As BroadwayWorld reported on May 31, University of the Arts in Philadelphia made the abrupt announcement that it would close on June 7, citing a decline in enrollment and a long-standing cash flow problem. Students were not informed of the closure prior to the announcement, leaving many scrambling to figure out their college plans.

In addition to this news, students just learned via the Philadelphia Inquirer that University President Kerry Walk has officially resigned. This announcement came soon after a June 3 Town Hall meeting for students and faculty was abruptly canceled minutes before with "with no plan to reschedule".

"We know this is an art school and we need money. Art is expensive... but we had no idea it was to this extent," student representative Aidan Yates told BroadwayWorld. "We had a fundraising thing [earlier this year], but there was no sign of pressure.

"The big thing is getting other arts institutions and conservatories to be willing to open their doors and see these students at this incredibly late time because we were giving an unprecedented amount of late notice."

Some schools have already stepped forward to help the displaced students, inlcuding Temple University, Muhlenberg College and Nazareth University, but the path forward still remains unclear.  

"Temple has said that they are going to work with UART students in the best way possible. We don't know if that means people are going to have to re-audition though. That has not been confirmed," Yates continued. "We have a really incredible degree program here called DPP, which stands for Directing, Playwriting and Production and that exists nowhere else in the world."

“I’m working with their chair to see if we can put this genie back in the bottle,” Mitchell L. Morgan, Temple’s board chair, told the Inquirer.

Additionally, Pittsburgh Unifieds has created an audition fee-free portal for current UARTs students to share their reels and other materials for other schools to access. Over 70 programs signed up to review. 

The news has also spawned a GoFundMe page to support staff and faculty, which has already raised almost half of its fundraising goal of $50,000. 

"The faculty and staff at UArts are some of the most dedicated, passionate and overworked I have ever met. In spite of ongoing institutional challenges, they have stayed on to support the incredible students (the best I have ever taught)," writes former faculty member Natalie Robin. "Hundreds of faculty and staff members have dedicated their careers to supporting the students and mission at UArts and are now left completely unsupported due to the announced closure of the University as of June 7th. That’s just 8 days after the announcement in the newspaper from which they learned of the university’s fate."

You can donate to the cause here.