North Texas Daily

Fibers alumni, students continue to advocate for cut program

Fibers alumni, students continue to advocate for cut program

Fibers alumni, students continue to advocate for cut program
October 03
12:23 2018

After it was announced shortly before this academic year began that the fibers program would be discontinued as a concentration at UNT in 2019, former fibers majors and alumni continue to advocate for the program.

The dean for the College of Visual Arts and Design, Greg Watts, sent an email to students on Aug. 15 announcing the end of the concentration. His email said CVAD could not continue to offer the program without the “appropriate space.”

Hilari Oller, who graduated in 2010 with a master’s degree in fibers, said the end of the program is “almost 20 years down the toilet,” referring to the building and improvement of the program over time. UNT’s fibers program was the last in Texas.

“I was shocked and wanted to do something to help,” Oller said. “It’s not smart on [UNT’s] part [to close the program]. [Students] came to UNT specifically for the amazing program.”

To help advocate for students, Oller created the Fight for the UNT Fibers Program Facebook group and invited current students and alumni to join. The group gained about 200 members in two days, Oller said, and it currently has 274 members.

“We’re hoping that if we show enough resistance, maybe [UNT will] reconsider,” Oller said.

The fibers program offered courses that allowed students to “explore a wide range of approaches to surface and structure by engaging in the intersection of traditional innovations and technological applications,” according to the CVAD website.

Oller said fibers is interdisciplinary and that she has seen non-fibers majors take classes in the program, “which then improved their work by integrating fibers processes.”

“If they get rid of [fibers], it would be detrimental to the other programs as well,” Oller said.

UNT continues to offer fibers courses as a minor, according to the CVAD website. It states the fibers minor is designed to encourage students in other areas to explore fibers.

Although the fibers program will be ending, it will not take effect until the next academic school year. Current fibers seniors like Lauren Gray, who came from Missouri for the fibers program at UNT, will not be affected directly.

Fiber students respond to the end of the program by advocating on Facebook. The Facebook group has continued to fight for the program removal and has 274 members including students and alumni. Trevor Seibert

“I know it doesn’t affect me, [but] it’s just the principle of the thing,” Gray said.

Gray is also a fashion design student and, like Oller, said fibers has helped in her fashion design degree.

“I use [fiber techniques] in my fashion,” Gray said. “It helps create way more interesting works of fashion.”

Gray has friends who are sophomores and juniors in the fibers program. Although the program will end next year, Gray said advisers told these students they can still graduate with a “genuine fibers” degree.

A FAQ page on the CVAD website states students with fibers degree plans “will be accommodated” for the degree plan they have on file.

Oller and another alumna, Christine Miller from Explore Fiber, said the fibers program director, Amie Adelman, worked to ensure the fibers program would have a space in the new CVAD building. The new building cost about $70 million.

Miller said the reason the dean gave for the program’s closure is “an excuse.”

“I don’t know what to say about spacing,” Miller said. “If they wanted to keep [fibers], they would find a way.”

Miller said she hopes the advocacy group will create a space to preserve the program through a creative problem solving solution.

“I have seen other fiber programs close over the years at [Southern Methodist University and Texas Woman’s University],” Miller said. “The UNT program is the last undergrad and [graduate] fibers program in the entire state. The university should be celebrating the longevity and success of this singular program, not end it.”

Featured Image: Aprons hang in the UNT Fibers studio in Welch Street Complex One. The UNT Fibers major is one of the last in Texas. Trevor Seibert

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

Senior News Writer

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