Letter to the Editor: #kpumusicmakenoise

A KPU Music student’s opinion on what the university’s new budget means moving forward

(File Photo)

The day that we KPU Music students and faculty members had been waiting for in fear, dread, and determination arrived at the end of March.

The KPU Board of Directors voted to pass the university’s budget plan for 2019/2020, which would scale back our program and prevent us from taking in new transfer or first year students. Before this, we as students raised awareness about the meeting by calling for signatures on our petition opposing the intake cuts and sending letters to the Dean of Arts, Vice President, and President asking them to reconsider the cuts.

At the meeting, our wonderful chair of the Music department, Jane Hayes, gave a powerful speech recommending that the board reject the proposed budget plan. She was followed by several speakers, all of whom spoke eloquently and respectfully, leaving nothing unsaid and no stone unturned.

In the end, though, the budget passed, meaning that we are ultimately unable to accept new students for the upcoming school year.

What was unique about this budget meeting

The vote wasn’t unanimous.

Three board members decided against approving the budget for the next year. Three.

Why is this significant?

Typically, meetings like this conclude with unanimous decisions. The fact that we, as students, were able to change some people’s minds is amazing. We made noise, and people heard it.

In the 26 years that KPU Music has existed, the program has never seen community like this. Gathering over 10,000 signatures on the KPU Music Make Noise petition? Unheard of. Hosting a rally where the media and the Mayor of Langley were in attendance? Astounding. Widespread online and media coverage? Incredible. And throughout all of it, we remained respectful, honest, polite and civil.

Even when we were pushed and prodded, we stood firm in our intentions. We brought forth the importance of music education and demonstrated remarkable leadership and spirit. We have set the precedent for what future protests could look like when these cuts will inevitably come again. We should be nothing less than proud of all our hard work and efforts to fight for what we believe in, and no one can take that away from us.

This is not the end of KPU Music, and we are not done fighting. One way or another, the university will understand the consequences of what they have done and the message they have sent regarding their stance on the importance of music and music education in society.

Lastly, to all of the applicants who were turned away, you will always have a home and a place here at KPU regardless of what the administration says. Even when you have doubts, and you question whether or not you belong, the friendships you make here resemble family, and you will always be welcomed with open arms. If we can’t have you this year, we will surely be excited and ready to meet you in the future, and I personally can’t wait to call each and every one of you a part of my KPU Music family.