Before the federal stimulus funds arrived, MTSU President Sidney McPhee warned students that the looming state budget cuts might force the university to eliminate entire departments and majors of studies. The social work, criminal justice administration, sociology, anthropology and philosophy departments all were being eyed for the chopping block.
Students reacted with outrage, marching in protest and bombarding the administration with calls and letters of protest.
Wendy Caldwell is a former MTSU student who is working as a cook while she saves money for her next round of classes.
With the Board of Regents considering another 6 percent to 11 percent increase in tuition, the process could take even longer.
Caldwell, who was double-majoring in math and philosophy, launched a Facebook group last year to protest the very idea of eliminating the philosophy department.
"The word philosophy means 'love of wisdom.' You can't have an education without philosophy," Caldwell said.
Philosophy classes taught her how to think, she said, recalling one class in which the professor discussed the link between the philosophy of Taoism and string theory in physics.
"Every penny I've ever spent on higher education was worth it for that moment."
In the end, the 2010-11 draft budget doesn't eliminate any majors or departments. In fact, it creates a brand-new college, the College of Applied, Behavioral and Health Sciences, and tweaks the administrative structures of other departments...