A Call to Arms

It is, by now, a familiar story: When budget cuts loom, dance programs brace for the worst. Factor in a struggling economy, which means more budget cuts, and you’re in for a long fight. In Florida, for example, a budget shortfall of $3.7 billion for fiscal year 2009 has its universities scrambling to trim programs. At Florida International University, one of those targeted for elimination is dance.

With FIU’s board of trustees scheduled to decide the program’s fate on June 12, Dance Department Chair Tom Hagood is rallying the troops. In an e-mail sent earlier this week, he asks members of the dance community to write letters urging the university to preserve the program. If you'd like to help out, you can find contact information, helpful talking points and facts about FIU’s dance department here.

Florida isn’t the only state struggling to compensate for severe budget shortfalls in the next fiscal year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a total of 27 states and the District of Columbia are facing deficits. You can read more about that here.

As Tom said in his e-mail, “[I’m] hoping you will consider this, as I will do the same for any and all, should the grinding axe of budget and limited vision come your way. I do think we will all need to act more frequently in these matters to help preserve programs across the nation over the next months and years.”

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